Utah – The largest booster in world history will be tested at 10:05 am EDT Tuesday, June 28, at Orbital ATK Propulsion Systems’ test facilities in Promontory, Utah. The booster will help the most powerful rocket in the world: the Space Launch System (SLS), which will make humans travel into deep space.
This is the second time the booster is tested, and it will be the last time the rocket is checked before the first test flight of the SLS, with NASA’s Orion spacecraft, also known as Exploration Mission-1. The mission is planned to be launched in late 2018 with no crew.
During the test on Tuesday, 82 design objectives will be carried out along with more than 530 instrumentation channels that collect data. The primary goal of this check up is to test all systems and condition of the five booster rocket.
At the trial, the rocket is laid on its side and is held against a concrete block of massive proportions that is near the side of a sagebrush-dotted hillside. Covering the booster there is a movable, climate-controlled test stand housing. The booster will be rolled away before ignition, according to Planetary News.
During the test, the booster will simulate how it will help the SLS during ascent and the booster’s flight computer will command the rear nozzle to swivel around during the burn. Perfs Science reports.
The stand housing is currently keeping the booster at 25 degrees with the help of 3 air conditioning units.
— NASA (@NASA) June 26, 2016
The booster has five propellants segments that are shaped like a doughnut, and they cast in different patterns that change the amount of fuel burning at a particular time.
A single SLS booster rocket burns around 6 tons of its propellant per second. The propellant contains solid grain, polybutadiene acrylonitrile, known as PBAN.
Engineers will test-fire the 54-meter booster at ends of the temperature range. NASA will see in this test how the booster will handle a much colder propellant, near 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
The first ground test conducted by NASA on the SLS booster was made in March 2015, when the booster was heated to 90 degrees Fahrenheit. The highest end of temperature accepted by the booster’s propellant.
— NASA (@NASA) June 10, 2016
A news report by the Planetary News says that these qualification tests help certify that the SLS booster is ready to be used in flight.
Both experiments last 2 minutes, and they seek to see how the booster can take extreme temperatures. The data collected in the tests will support the booster qualification for flight.
Tuesday’s trial is vital. If the future missions with the SLS are to be accomplished. The booster test must be perfect. EM-1 mission manager, Mike Sarafin, told Prf Science that the SLS will pass the GPS system constellation, beyond the Tracking and Data Satellite, beyond Earth’s magnetic field. Next missions are completely different, and the SLS has to surpass its shuttle program predecessor.
Nasa and Orbital ATK have to eliminate problems that might take place at high temperatures, to assure that the SLS is safe to use.
Nasa will broadcast the test of the rocket booster
— NASA (@NASA) June 27, 2016
NASA Television will air live coverage of the booster firing June 28, beginning at 09:30 a.m. On Monday, a NASA Social event will provide background and the latest updates on SLS and Exploration Mission 1 at 03:30 p.m
On Tuesday, following the trial, NASA will hold a media teleconference to talk about the initial assessment of the booster test and it will start at 11:00 a.m.
The participants of the teleconference are the associate administrator for Human Exploration and Operations at NASA Headquarters, Bill Gerstenmaier; Charlie Precourt, vice president and general manager of Orbital ATK’s Propulsion Systems Division in Promontory, Utah; and director of the NASA SLS Booster at Marshall Space Flight Center, Alex Priskos.
The teleconference audio will stream live here
Exploration Mission 1 (EM-1) set to be launched in 2018
— Friends of NASA (@FriendsofNASA) December 10, 2015
The SLS will be tested under the name of Exploration Mission-1 (EM-1), which is planned to be carried out in late 2018. The test flight will take the Orion spacecraft to the far side to the moon with no humans.
The SLS will carry 7 miniaturized satellites that are easy to build for science explorations based on space. These satellites are named CubeSats. One of the CubeSats, the SkyFire, will fly the Moon to collect data with its onboard sensors. Another satellite, the Lunar Flashlight, will use a laser to make a water ice map of the lunar south pole, said NASA in February.
Many of the probes are being designed to analyze the lunar surface from a closer look.
The mission is only two years away, and the first flight with a crew of astronauts has been scheduled for 2023.
NASA’s intentions are to accelerate the human mission to 2021, but the recent funds given to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration to build a second version of the SLS might complicate the rockets upcoming mission date.
Source: Perf Science