NASA has successfully tested the Northrop Grumman solid rocket booster that will power the agency’s next-generation heavy-lift rocket, the Space Launch System (SLS).
The full-scale booster test of the SLS solid rocket booster was conducted at a Northrop Grumman facility in Promontory, Utah at 18:45 UTC on September 2.
The booster was fired for just over two minutes, the same duration that flight versions of the booster will be fired for during an SLS mission. The five-segment booster produced almost 1 million kilograms of thrust and appeared to perform flawlessly.
The test was the sixth SLS booster to be fired following three development tests and two qualification tests. Dubbed Flight Support Booster-1, the test article built on previous variants with “the introduction of propellant ingredients from new suppliers.” According to NASA, this new variant of the booster will only be used to support missions after Artemis III.
“NASA is simultaneously making progress on assembling and manufacturing the solid rocket boosters for the first three Artemis missions and looking ahead toward missions beyond the initial Moon landing,” said John Honeycutt, the SLS Program Manager at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center.
The SLS boosters that will support the first Artemis mission are currently being prepared for launch at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. At the same time, the rocket’s core stage is undergoing Green Run testing at NASA’s Stennis Space Center in Mississippi. The testing will culminate in a full-duration hot fire test of the stage’s four RS-25 engines.