Image Credit & Copyright: NASA & Orbital ATK. Additional information provided by Amy Lynn @AstroGingerSnap on Twitter.
On Wednesday, March 11, 2015 at 11:30 EDT (15:30 UTC) Orbital ATK will conduct a static, hot fire test on one solid rocket booster (SRB) known as Qualification Motor-1 (QM-1) at their T-97 test stand in Promontory, Utah. These new 5-segment 177 ft. (54 m) long solid fueled boosters will be the largest, most powerful in history and each of NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) machines will be affixed with two of them in a similar fashion to the Space Shuttle. The Space Shuttle 4-segment boosters were 149.1 ft. (45.46 m) long.
The test this Wednesday will see the SRB powered for the full flight duration of two minutes where it will burn 1,385,000 lb. (628,225 kg) of propellant at a rate of 5.5 tons per second and reaching temperatures of 5,600 degrees F (3,093 C)! The power generated is 3.6 million lbs. of thrust (22 million horsepower) which is more than 14 Boeing 747’s each with four engines at full throttle.
Prior to test, the SRB will be kept at 90 degrees F which is the high end of its mean bulk temperature range. Another test scheduled for early 2016 will be a cold test with the booster near its cold limit of around 40 degrees F. The temperature for the 4-segment Space Shuttle SRB’s, for example were 55-80 degrees F. There will be 102 design objectives measured by more than 531 instrumentation channels to record test data.
This booster would make Mad Max and MacGyver proud as it carries on it, parts from boosters actually used on all 5 Space Shuttles, 23 different Space Shuttle Missions launched from both pads (LC 39-A & B) as well as three previous static tests to include Development Motor (DM) tests for NASA’s Ares program. Some notables are;
STS-51-F Challenger (Spacelab-2)
STS-88 Endeavour (1st shuttle flight to ISS)
STS-114 Discovery (Return to flight after Columbia tragedy)
STS-125 Atlantis (Final flight to Hubble)
STS-135 Atlantis (The Final Shuttle Mission).
WATCH THE TEST LIVE:
NASA TV Ustream: http://www.ustream.tv/nasahdtv
Orbital ATK page for this event: http://www.orbitalatk.com/News-Room/insideoa/five-segment-motor/
NASA page for this event: http://www.nasa.gov/sls/booster-aimed-and-ready-to-fire.html
NASA SLS Boosters: http://www.nasa.gov/sls/space-launch-system-boosters-101.html
Orbital ATK Twitter: https://twitter.com/orbitalatk
Orbital ATK Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/OrbitalATK
NASA Space Launch System (SLS) Twitter: https://twitter.com/nasa_sls