PROMONTORY, Utah --- Alliant Techsystems conducted a successful test firing today of NASA's Reusable Solid Rocket Motor (RSRM) as part of continuous testing to improve performance and ensure safety of the Space Shuttle, which also transfers improvements into the shuttle-derived first-stage of the Ares I crew launch vehicle.
The Reusable Solid Rocket Motor generated 2.6 million pounds of average thrust throughout the duration of the test, which lasted approximately two minutes -- the same duration the motors fire when launching the Space Shuttle.
"Static tests are an integral part of ATK and NASA's commitment to ensure the safety of NASA's astronauts," said Ron Dittemore, President, ATK Launch Systems. "These tests will also aid in the development of the Ares I launch vehicle, providing a smooth technical and workforce transition as the shuttle program is retired."
The test included 58 objectives to obtain and validate performance data and upgrades being analyzed for the future. Among them was a test to collect data for enhanced understanding of noise and vibration produced by one solid rocket motor for analysis of its relationship to the Ares I vehicle. Other objectives included testing of improved nozzle and case insulation materials.
"This is a good example of why static firings are so important to not only the Space Shuttle but the entire space program," said Dittemore. "Every test objective performed for the shuttle's RSRM program will also benefit the Ares I first stage element as well."
Ares I is an in-line, two-stage rocket that includes an upper stage topped by the Orion crew capsule, its service module and launch abort system, patterned after the Saturn rockets that helped propel the Apollo capsule to the moon. NASA has slated it to replace the shuttle for missions to the International Space Station, and to eventually return to the Moon and venture on to Mars, working in concert with the Ares V cargo launch vehicle, whose design includes two RSRBs as part of its core stage propulsion system.
ATK is a $3.8 billion advanced weapon and space systems company employing approximately 15,500 people in 21 states.
ATK Conducts Successful Test Firing of Space Shuttle Reusable Solid Rocket Motor