NASA Tests Rocket Booster For Return To Moon

NASA Tests Rocket Booster For Return To Moon”

The space agency conducted a full-scale booster test for its Space Launch System (SLS) rocket in Promontory, Utah, on Wednesday.

The huge Solid Rocket Boosters (SRBs) provide most of the thrust in the first two minutes of the SLS's ride to space. In a follow up teleconference, NASA and its partners confirmed the test accomplished its goals.

Burning 6 tons of propellant per second, the test motor ignited at 3:05 p.m. ET, instantly blasting out a torrent of flame and a churning cloud of exhaust that towered into a clear blue sky above Northrop Grumman's manufacturing facility in Promontory, Utah.

Wednesday's firing of Flight Support Booster 1, the sixth test of a five-segment SLS booster since 2009, was meant to collect engineering data on the performance of new materials and equipment that may be incorporated in downstream SLS flights.

The SLS rocket is one of several vehicles, in addition to the Orion spacecraft, Gateway and human landing system, that will power NASA's deep space mission.

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NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine tweeted congratulations to those conducting the test, adding in a statement: "Landing the first woman and the next man on the moon is just the beginning of NASA's Artemis Program".

NASA has tested the booster rocket technology that will be used to power future Artemis missions to the moon. The SLS flight support booster firing is a crucial part of sustaining missions to the moon. While the launch components of Artemis involve the traditional NASA path of using long-time contractors, other parts of the mission have been opened to other bidders whose contract winners have included SpaceX. During launch, the rocket will produce 8.8 million pounds of thrust, "equivalent to more than 160,000 Corvette engines", as NASA puts it.

NASA's Artemis mission is dubbed as the "twin sister of Apollo" and is aiming to return humans to the Moon by 2024.

The mission marked the first time that astronauts have launched from American soil since the final Space Shuttle flight in 2011.

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