NASA Tests Prospective Launch Motor

BRIGHAM CITY, Utah, Aug. 31 (UPI) — NASA says it has successfully tested the largest and most powerful solid rocket motor that could be used for future U.S. heavy lift launch vehicles.

ATK Aerospace Systems of Brigham City, Utah, conducted the 2-minute, full-scale stationary firing of the first-stage development solid rocket motor, dubbed DM-2, a NASA release said.

The first-stage solid rocket motor is designed to generate up to 3.6 million pounds of thrust at launch.

Although similar to the solid rocket boosters that help power the space shuttle to orbit, the five-segment development motor includes several upgrades and technology improvements implemented by NASA and ATK engineers, the space agency said.

The external motor cases are flight-proven hardware used on shuttle launches for more than three decades. The cases used in this ground test have collectively launched 59 previous missions, NASA said.

The solid rocket motor was built as an element of NASA’s heavy-lift Constellation Program.

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