Earlier today the largest Solid Rocket Booster ever was fired up at Orbital ATK’s test facility in Promontory, UTAH. Based on the Solid Rocket Boosters that carried the Space Shuttle into orbit for 30 years this booster has been upgraded to support NASA’s new Space Launch System (SLS).
While the Booster is based on the shuttle design a lot of changes have been made to reduce the cost and improve the processes for creation of the boosters.
Due to the increased weight of the SLS this booster consists of an extra segment over that used by the shuttle. The five segment booster produces a total of 3.6m pounds of thrust and will burn 1.3m pounds of propellant during its two minutes of operation. The SLS will use two boosters during launch.
The segments used during today’s test have flown on many different shuttle missions, once retrieved from the ocean after a launch they return to Orbital’s factory where they are refurbished for another mission. Due to the cost of recovering the boosters and refurbishing this will no longer be done meaning they will fall back to the Atlantic but remain there.
Below are screen grabs of the test