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Watch NASA test-fire its massive Space Launch System rocket booster

By Shawn Knight · 10 replies
Jun 28, 2016
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  1. NASA on Tuesday conducted its second ground-based test of its Space Launch System (SLS), the most powerful rocket in the world. The test, which took place at Orbital ATK’s test facilities in Promontory, Utah, is the last full-scale test of the booster before it'll be used in an unmanned test flight in late 2018.

    For those that missed the first test, you’re in for quite the spectacle. It’s basically a massive rocket booster laid on its side, strapped down and, well, launched. The rocket doesn’t move of course but it sure puts on a tremendous display of power. Those in the audience at a safe distance away no doubt felt the approximate 3.6 million pounds of thrust.

    NASA notes that during the full two-minute test, temperatures within the booster reached nearly 6,000 Fahrenheit. An array of more than 530 instruments captured a wealth of data which NASA will comb over in the coming weeks and months to make sure everything is in order before its true test.

    The Space Launch System is designed to carry NASA’s Orion crew vehicle into space and away from Earth’s gravitational pull. It’ll one day facilitate NASA’s journey to Mars although it’s not the only space agency with the Red Planet in its sights.

    A couple of months ago, SpaceX said it plans to send a spacecraft to Mars as early as 2018. Unfortunately, it’ll still be many more years before humans step foot on a planet not named Earth.

    Permalink to story.

  2. dms96960

    dms96960 TS Guru Posts: 322   +77

    This was certainly a boon to global warming.
    wastedkill likes this.
  3. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 8,647   +3,286

    Why didn't they just yank the Saturn V out of mothballs and press that back into service thereby saving the taxpayer a few bob. That booster used to deliver a good few grams of thrust if I can correctly recall.
    wastedkill likes this.
  4. GalahadIV

    GalahadIV TS Enthusiast Posts: 17   +16

    Why don't they do a partnership with space X?
  5. wiyosaya

    wiyosaya TS Evangelist Posts: 4,118   +2,406

    The big difference is that this test was of a solid fuel rocket booster, the Saturn V was liquid fueled, and used five of these - http://www.nasa.gov/exploration/systems/sls/f1_sls.html If you look at that link, you will find out that NASA is combing the secrets of the engine to use its advantages for the SLS. I suspect, though, that these solid fuel boosters can be used many more times than the F-1 engines can, and that that is more cost effective.

    However, the largest rocket configuration for the SLS is bigger than the Saturn V which implies that the Saturn V, even as big and powerful as it was, is not suitable for the job. http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7291/12306149196_5b6643eb2e_z.jpg
  6. wiyosaya

    wiyosaya TS Evangelist Posts: 4,118   +2,406

    They already are for low-earth orbit launches such as their current missions to the ISS.

    I doubt, though, that SpaceX is as capable as NASA's current industrial partners for the SLS making a choice of SpaceX as a partner for this endeavor much more unlikely.
  7. mbrowne5061

    mbrowne5061 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,235   +691

    Because SpaceX is BSing everyone when they say "as soon as 2018". The Falcon 9 doesn't have the fuel, impulse, or thrust to get to Mars. Any other rocket they are working on would take longer than a year and a half to get approved by the various U.S. govt agencies (FAA, EPA, who ever in charge of enforcing ITAR compliance, etc), let alone built and launched. They would have had to built an entire launch system in secret - and it is very difficult to keep a project like that a secret.

    Now, if they are hitching a ride on the SLS - which is possible, given the timeline - that is another story. But I doubt it. 2018 is the first fight for SLS. They probably aren't going to send the first flight to Mars without a really good reason - and doing a publicity stunt for a private aerospace isn't a good enough reason.
  8. Fobus

    Fobus TS Addict Posts: 104   +75

    They are building Falcon Heavy rocket, which is no secret. Also, private sector can move quite a faster than NASA. One or two years later than Elon Musk says, but it always happen.
  9. wiyosaya

    wiyosaya TS Evangelist Posts: 4,118   +2,406

    I have to agree with the original post on this. Frankly, Musk seems to think he has some sort of magic wand that he can wave at anything, and it will be done instantly. To me, this is only a measure of his immaturity.

    There are already four private-sector major contractors working on SLS, and, IMO, they all have much more resources and competence than SpaceX has - https://www.thestreet.com/story/133...-way-to-the-launch-pad-image-credit-nasa.html
  10. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 8,647   +3,286

    Thanks for the explanation but I was just being caustic (for a change ;))
  11. mbrowne5061

    mbrowne5061 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,235   +691

    I'll believe the Falcon heavy is being actively - and successfully - worked on when they do a static fire of it's new engines.

    Also, just because SpaceX is private doesn't mean they get to skip regulatory bodies. Aerospace especially has a long, onerous process to get new rockets approved. If they were to start today they might finish validating by the end of 2018. Maybe. But then they still don't arrive at Mars until 2019, because its a 3 month flight time during a good arrangement wit the right engines. Closer to 6-9 in most cases.

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