NASA and Northrop Grumman have test-fired a solid rocket booster in Utah that is developed for NASA's Space Launch System (SLS), Futurism reports.
The booster was built by Northrop Grumman and ignited at 3:05 p.m. ET at the company's manufacturing facility in Promontory. The flames and a cloud of exhaust followed the ignition.
The static-fire test that lasted two minutes and burnt 6 tons of propellant per second started a fire on the hillside.
The booster started a fire on the hillside. pic.twitter.com/jANraG9mIp— Chris B - NSF (@NASASpaceflight) September 2, 2020
This is a step towards meeting President Trump's goal of landing the first woman and next man on the Moon in 2024. The SLS rocket program is called Artemis and is managed at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center.
Northrop Grumman is building the largest solid fuel boosters ever built for each flight. The Flight Support Booster (FSB-1) will be the foundation for improving future rocket boosters that'll power SLS.
The 154-foot booster, "largest solid rocket motor ever built for flight" per Northrop Grumman, has five segments and weighs 1.6 million pounds.
The giant produces 3.6 million pounds of thrust, and the SLS rocket, that is being built by Boeing, will be equipped with two of them. 75% of the rocket's take off power will be coming from them.
While the hillside near the test site got a bit roughed up, NASA and Northrop Grumman were able to pull off the ignition. John Honeycutt, SLS program manager at Marshall, said after the test, "Today marks the first flight support booster test to confirm the rocket motor’s performance using potential new materials for Artemis IV and beyond."
The SLS rocket will be carrying four astronauts to make a Moon landing by the end of 2024.