The five-segment solid rocket booster for NASA’s SLS rocket tested for early learning in support of next-generation systems at Northrop Grumman’s Promontory, Utah, test area.

PROMONTORY — Scientists with Northrop Grumman Corporation and NASA successfully conducted a full-scale static test of NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket motor Thursday. The five-segment solid rocket booster, known as Flight Support Booster-2, is the world’s largest solid rocket motor and will provide more than 75 percent of the SLS rocket’s initial thrust during launch.

According to a press release, over 300 measurement channels assessed the 154-foot-long solid rocket booster as it fired for just over two minutes producing upwards of 3.6 million pounds of thrust. Thursday’s test evaluated new materials and demonstrated a new motor ignition system and an electronic thrust vector control system that steers the motors to provide data for the development of the next-generation Booster Obsolescence and Life Extension (BOLE) boosters.

Northrop Grumman was awarded a contract to develop the BOLE booster in December 2021. The award also included follow-on production and flight sets for Artemis IV through Artemis VIII, and a BOLE booster set for Artemis IX.

Wendy Williams, Vice President of Propulsion Systems at Northrop Grumman said thiis opportunity for early learning on next-generation systems will help them develop an enhanced booster that is ready to support the greater payload demands of the SLS rocket through 2031.

Booster segments for Artemis II, the first crewed Artemis mission, and Artemis III, the mission that will land the first woman and first person of color on the lunar surface, are complete. Artemis IV segments are currently being cast with propellant and the first BOLE booster composite segment case to be used for development testing completed winding in October.

Northrop Grumman has supplied rocket propulsion for NASA’s Apollo and Space Shuttle Programs and developed the five-segment SLS solid rocket booster based on the flight-proven design of the space shuttle boosters. Designed with an additional segment and upgraded technology and materials, each of the twin solid rocket boosters generates 25 percent more thrust than its predecessor boosters to aid the SLS rocket’s ability to deliver greater mass and volume to space with greater departure energy than any existing launch vehicle.


will@cvradio.com

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