Still wondering if humans will ever set foot on Mars? Will there be Martians or just barren land waiting there for us? With organizations such as Mars One putting forth plans to colonize Mars, this topic is bound to arouse curiosity and interest from all over the world!
Ignoring the ginormous cost of the mission and the possible health problems that astronauts could potentially face in deep space, the biggest problem remains that we do not have rockets that are powerful enough to carry us into the vast deep expanse of outer space, or is it so?
Well, NASA just took a huge step in this direction by testing the most powerful rocket launcher in history, the SLS Five Segment Rocket Booster. Dubbed as the “Qualification Motor 1”, or “QM-1”, the test took place at Orbital ATK’s T-97 test stand located at Promontory, Utah.
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The booster fired for two minutes, the same amount of time it will fire when it lifts the SLS off the launch pad, and produced about 3.6 million pounds of thrust and is one of the two tests planned to qualify the booster for flight. Once qualified, the flight booster hardware will be ready for shipment to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida for the first SLS flight. During the test, more than 531 instrumentation channels on the booster were measured to help assess some 102 design objectives, reports NASA.
“The work being done around the country today to build SLS is laying a solid foundation for future exploration missions, and these missions will enable us to pioneer far into the solar system,” said William Gerstenmaier, NASA’s associate administrator for human exploration and operations. “The teams are doing tremendous work to develop what will be a national asset for human exploration and potential science missions.”
The SLS Five Segment rocket booster provides a thrust more than 75% of the one needed to escape the gravitational pull of the earth. When completed, two five-segment boosters and four RS-25 main engines will power the SLS on deep space missions with its first flight test being carrying an uncrewed Orion spacecraft beyond the low Earth Orbit.
Check out the full test video below:
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