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NASA completes test firing of future Artemis booster motor

PROMONTORY, Utah — A recent booster motor test-firing was called a success by NASA officials.

Teams from NASA’s Space Launch System program and Northrop Grumman fired a ground-based version of a booster for the Artemis moon rocket at Northrop Grumman’s test facility in Promontory, Utah.

“The power we have felt from just a single booster motor here in Utah is just half of what we will feel for an Artemis launch,” said Dave Reynolds, SLS booster deputy manager at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville. “Artemis I is just the beginning of a new era of space travel, the work for future Artemis missions continues.

“Designing boosters for those future missions relies heavily on the data we get from these test firings because we are leveraging off of what we learn from these different materials and processes that are being used on the boosters for early Artemis missions.”

According to a news release, the booster motor, secured horizontally in a test stand, fired for a little more than two minutes and produced 3.6 million pounds of thrust. The booster for the test is the same size and has the same power as a booster used for launch.

The latest firing demonstrated the performance of a new motor ignition system and thrust vector control system. It also tested new motor components, materials, and processes.

“Today’s successful (booster) test reaffirms our commitment to manufacturing the optimal solid rocket motors to support SLS and NASA’s Artemis deep space missions,” said Jeff Foote, senior director of NASA Programs, Northrop Grumman. “The initial demonstration of next-generation components enables us to acquire early learning for the boosters that will support the heavy-lift performance and greater payload capacities.”

The SLS rocket and NASA’s Orion spacecraft completed their final test for Artemis I and engineers are preparing to launch and fly the rocket and spacecraft this year.

Through Artemis missions, NASA will land the first woman and the first person of color on the moon, paving the way for a long-term, sustainable lunar presence and serving as a steppingstone for future astronaut missions to Mars.

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