NASA Successfully Completes Solid Rocket Motor Test

August 17, 2005

NASA's Space Shuttle program successfully fired its first Production Rate Motor Tuesday, Aug. 16, at a Utah test facility. The two-minute static, or stationary, firing of the rocket motor was performed at ATK Thiokol, an Alliant Techsystems company, in Promontory, north of Salt Lake City.

The firing of the Production Rate Motor was one of several annual tests conducted by the Reusable Solid Rocket Motor Project Office at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center to qualify any proposed changes to the rocket motor and to guarantee that new materials meet safety requirements. These annual tests closely replicate a Space Shuttle launch.

The Aug. 16 test demonstrated process, material and design changes made to the Reusable Solid Rocket Motors produced during the past two years.

The motor firing also will allow NASA to further evaluate the performance of new sensors that read and retain detailed information - much faster than instruments now used - on pressures generated in the motor during a Shuttle launch.

"Testing such as this is important to ensure continued quality and performance," said Jody Singer, manager of the Reusable Solid Rocket Motor Project, part of the Space Shuttle Propulsion Office at the Marshall Center.

The test satisfied 48 objectives, including the evaluation of new sensors, or Intelligent Pressure Transducers. Produced by Stellar Technology, of Amherst, N.Y., the transducers also were tested earlier this year on a modified motor at the Marshall Center.

In addition to evaluating the performance of the new sensors, the test also monitored an operational pressure transducer recently qualified for flight and flown on STS-114: Space Shuttle Return to Flight launched July 26.

These transducers, also made by Stellar Technology, help determine the time of separation of the Solid Rocket Boosters from the Orbiter.

The Production Rate Motor test also will allow NASA and ATK Thiokol engineers to further examine a more environmentally friendly insulation material and to gather information on a pressure-sensitive adhesive that may soon be used on the motor's joints.

Another objective of the test was to assess the performance of the propellant bore - the hole down the middle - of the rocket motor. When a motor is ignited, a controlled burn begins down its middle, creating the motor's thrust.

The test results will show how motors react during the first few seconds following ignition and provide engineers more information on the firing stability of motors - crucial information for human spaceflight.

Additionally, a powerful X-ray was used during the test to scrutinize how the motor nozzle performs during launch and ascent.

Static firings are part of the ongoing verification of components, materials and manufacturing processes required by the Space Shuttle program.

Test data will be analyzed and the results for each objective provided in a final report. Following the test, the motor's metal casings and its nozzle components will be refurbished for reuse.

Copyright 2005 by Space Daily, Distributed United Press International

Explore further: NASA launches USU student-built experiment into space

Related Stories

James Webb Observatory prepares for additional testing

March 12, 2018

Engineers removed the combined optics and science instruments of NASA's James Webb Space Telescope from their shipping container in a high bay at Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems in Redondo Beach, California, on March 8, ...

Rocket Motor Test Helps NASA's Shuttle and Ares I

November 17, 2006

NASA's Space Shuttle Program successfully fired a reusable solid rocket motor Thursday, Nov. 16, at a Utah facility. The two-minute test provided important information for nighttime shuttle launches and for the development ...

NASA Successfully Completes Solid Rocket Motor Test

March 11, 2006

NASA's Space Shuttle Program successfully fired a full-scale, full-duration reusable solid rocket technical evaluation motor Thursday, March 9, at a Utah test facility. The two-minute static, or stationary, firing of the ...

Recommended for you

Researchers investigate 'why clothes don't fall apart'

April 23, 2018

Cotton thread is made of many tiny fibers, each just 2-3 cm long, yet when spun together the fibers are capable of transmitting tension over indefinitely long distances. From a physics perspective, how threads and yarns transmit ...

Swirling liquids work similarly to bitcoin

April 23, 2018

Fluid dynamics is not something that typically comes to mind when thinking about bitcoin. But for one Stanford physicist, the connection is as simple as stirring your coffee.

California to 'whipsaw' between drought, floods: study

April 23, 2018

California will zigzag between droughts and floods which will become more intense and more frequent in the coming decades unless global emissions of planet-warming greenhouse gases are checked, researchers said Monday.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.