NASA and ATK have completed installation of the first Space Launch System (SLS) booster qualification motor, QM-1, in a specialized test stand in Utah, USA. The largest solid rocket motor ever built for flight, QM-1 is now being prepared for its static-fire test, which is scheduled for March 11, 2015.
“Testing before flight is critical to ensure reliability and safety when launching crew into space,” said Charlie Precourt, vice president and general manager of ATK’s Space Launch division. “The QM-1 static test is an important step in further qualifying this new five-segment solid rocket motor for planned missions to send astronauts to deep space.”
For the test, QM-1 is being conditioned to test its higher temperature capabilities against the required temperature range. Lying horizontally in the test stand, the motor is 154ft in length and 12ft in diameter. When fired, QM-1 will produce a maximum thrust of 3.6 million pounds.
The five-segment rocket motor, in conjunction with four RS-25 engines, will propel NASA’s SLS off the launch pad. The SLS, along with NASA’s Orion spacecraft, provides a flexible deep space exploration platform to take humans and cargo to multiple destinations throughout the solar system.