Orbital ATK s Five-Segment Rocket Motor Fires Up Space Exploration
The successful pre-flight test, known as Qualification Motor 1 (QM-1), is an important milestone in validating the rocket motor s use for SLS and its deep space missions. Initial test data indicate the motor performed as designed and delivered the anticipated performance. The rocket motor produced approximately 3.6 million pounds of thrust (equivalent to 22 million horsepower) and fired for just over two minutes. More data will be available as post-test analysis is accomplished on the 102 design objectives that are supported by 531 instrumentation channels.
This motor firing is the first of two qualification tests to certify
the motor configuration for NASA s Space Launch System, said
Measuring 12 feet in diameter and 154 feet in length, Orbital ATK s five-segment motor is the largest human-rated solid rocket motor built today. When it is fully assembled as a booster, it will be 177 feet tall (approximately 17 stories). It produces 20 percent more power than the previously-used four-segment motor, and it also uses new materials that provide cost and weight savings. The five-segment motor was designed to maximize safety while providing a reliable and affordable launch capability for human missions deeper in the solar system than we have ever gone before including to the surface of Mars.
NASA s SLS, along with the Orion crew capsule, enables us to blaze new
trails, and embark on missions to deep space that leverage more than
five decades of pushing boundaries, said
Today s qualification test included newly-designed avionics hardware and equipment to control the motor and provide improved test monitoring capability. Other test improvements include a new main pivot flexure design in the forward thrust block to transfer the massive forces from the test into the various load cells for thrust monitoring, as well as an added mid-span support that assisted in adjusting the motor centerline to make the test more consistent with actual flight conditions.
This is an exciting time for exploration, as we venture farther into space, said Precourt. The promise of deep space exploration will inspire the next generation to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math preparing them to run the missions we re designing.
NASA s SLS will launch on its first mission,
The SLS and Orion programs are supported by a network of hundreds of
suppliers representing 47 states.
Orbital ATK, Inc.
Kay Anderson, 435-230-2787
Propulsion Systems Public Relations
Orbital ATK, Inc.
Barron Beneski, 703-406-5528
Public and Investor Relations