SRB test fire successful

by Chris Bergin

ATK Thiokol have successfully carried out a 123 second test fire of the technical evaluation motor (TEM-12) at their static test facility in Utah.

With most of the NASA top management in attendance to watch the test – and meet with Thiokol to discuss CLV (Crew Launch Vehicle) options – the test article was used to collect data on environment impacts on the rocket motor parts.

The static-fire test included 26 specific objectives and used 89 instrumentation channels to evaluate the motor’s performance during the full scale test, which ran for the same duration a SRB would perform on a normal Shuttle launch.

‘Test results will provide engineers unique information about motor components that have been exposed to the environment in Florida at the Kennedy Space Center,’ said Jody Singer, manager of the Reusable Solid Rocket Motor Project, part of the Space Shuttle Propulsion Office at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) in Huntsville, Alabama.

‘Testing such as this is important to ensure continued quality and performance.’

The results will be published in a report due at the end of the year. ‘Preliminary data indicates that all test objectives were met,’ noted an MSFC press release.

ATK Thiokol will play a key role in NASA’s future space flight vehicle range, with SRBs featuring on both the CLV and heavy lift CaLV. A first stage five segment SRB will feature on the CLV, with twin five segment SRBs on the CaLV.

Despite the loss of Shuttle Challenger due to an SRB fault, NASA Administrator Mike Griffin backed the SRB’s safety record as highly reliable – given the amount of successful missions it has been involved with, omitting STS-51L.



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