Skip to comments.NASA's Record-Setting Solid Rocket Enjoys Successful Test-Fire ( At Utah test site )
Posted on 09/06/2010 9:57:46 AM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach
Rocket will see first action in 2015 delivering new rescue capsule (Orion) to the ISS
The U.S. space program is about to go through some dramatic changes.
President Barack Obama has moved ahead with plans to retire the Space Shuttle in 2011. U.S. missions to the International Space Station will be provided by Russia's aging Soyuz modular spacecraft.
Meanwhile, the U.S. government will work to fill its manned spacecraft needs with more permanent replacements from private sector companies like SpaceX and will fill in the gaps with NASA technology. On Tuesday, NASA made a critical step forward to filling one of those gaps, completing a successful test of its DM-2 solid-fuel heavy-lift rocket.
Some may recall that NASA was contracting Lockheed Martin to develop a Shuttle successor named the Crew Exploration Vehicle, later renamed to the Orion. That project was slated for cancellation by President Obama in February 2010.
The administration later recanted somewhat on that order, and in April decided to repurpose the Orion design for use as a rescue vehicle for the ISS.
Of course something needs to blast Orion into orbit. That's where NASA's heavy-lift rocket comes in. The five stage rocket is a marvel of engineering and is the largest solid-fuel rocket in history. It can output 22 million horsepower and generate as much as 3.6 million pounds of thrust.
The design is the result of a collaboration between NASA and an aerospace contractor, Alliant Techsystems' (ATK) subsidiary ATK Space Systems. The test was carried out amidst a desert backdrop in ATK Space Systems' home state of Utah.
Aside from the brand-new fifth segment that helps the rocket set power records, the rocket also features other significant improvements from past designs. It includes a modified nozzle throat and upgraded insulated liner.
These refinements make the rocket safer and more efficient.
The first test was a resounding success. All segments of the rocket successfully fired at full power. Better yet, they did so after being chilled to 40 degrees Fahrenheit, simulating cold weather conditions from likely launch locations like Cape Canaveral, Florida.
The rocket isn't slated to see action until 2015, so the program is well ahead schedule and has plenty of time for additional testing and fine tuning.
Andy Schorr, first stage, five-segment motor lead for Ares Projects at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama comments, "The successful DM-1 test provided our team with great results. All performance
measurements were within specified limits and 46 total objectives, covering each significant design feature of the motor, were met."
"Our team is responsible for developing a robust propulsion system that can provide the thrust necessary to escape Earth's gravitational well and safely deliver astronaut crews and payloads to the International Space Station and beyond. As we press forward, our goal is to optimize every aspect of the system for peak performance."
Some haven't been impressed by NASA's recent direction, though. Rob Zubrin, President of the Mars society in April lambasted President Obama's space vision, commenting:
Under the Obama plan, NASA will spend $100 billion on human spaceflight over the next 10 years in order to accomplish nothing"
Obama called for sending a crew to a near Earth asteroid by 2025. ... Had Obama not canceled the Ares 5, we could have used it to perform an asteroid mission by 2016. But the President, while calling for such a flight, actually is terminating the programs that would make it possible."
With current in-space propulsion technology, we can do a round-trip mission to a near-Earth asteroid or a one-way transit to Mars in six months ... Holdren claims that he wants to develop a new electrically powered space thruster to speed up such trips. But without gigantic space nuclear power reactors to provide them with juice, such thrusters are useless, and the administration has no intention of developing such reactors.
Despite the successful engine test, there's significant uncertainty, even with regards to the DM-2's purpose. Initially the design was slated to carry a moon-lander called Altair for a mission by 2020. Under Obama's new plan its left uncertain whether that mission will occur at all. As there are no plans to currently fund a lunar push (the focus is instead on a Mars mission), it seems unlikely the DM-2 will every be put to this use, barring a change in direction by a future administration.
As an interesting side note, the DM-2 shares its name with the respectively diminutive Soviet Blok DM-2 rocket engine, designed in 1982. That smaller engine has been used as recently as 2009, alone with Proton M, for GLONASS GPS satellite launches.
“Under the Obama plan, NASA will spend $100 billion on human spaceflight over the next 10 years in order to accomplish nothing”
.....Reminds me of his Presidency.....
This is like an absurdist play.
Why are we developing delivery systems that we have no plans to use?
WASHINGTON, Aug. 18 -- NASA issued the following media advisory:
NASA and Alliant Techsystems Inc. (ATK) will conduct a full-scale test of a five-segment, first-stage solid rocket motor at 11:05 a.m. EDT, Tuesday, Aug. 31. The test at the ATK Aerospace Systems test facility in Promontory, Utah will assess motor performance at low temperatures.
The static firing of the solid motor, designated Development Motor-2, will last two minutes. This is the most heavily instrumented solid rocket motor in NASA history, with 53 test objectives that will be measured using more than 760 instruments. The motor was built as an element of NASA's Constellation Program. It is the largest and
Of course something needs to blast Orion into orbit.
It is at an elevation of 1494 meters (4902 ft) above sea level. Promontory is 51 km (32 mi) west of Brigham City, Utah and 107 km (66 mi) northwest of Salt Lake City, and north of the Great Salt Lake.
With these new rocket systems, NASA missionaries will be able to reach islamic-held lands with breath-taking speeds, to teach them about all the wonderful contributions islam has made to mankind.
Do Muslims feel good about this?
Shane McGlaun (Blog) - April 16, 2010 10:30 AM
Obama sees the future of U.S. space flight in the hands of private companies. Obama wants a new industry that will see private companies offering transportation services to NASA rather than the vehicles themselves.
Obama said, "The new plan is to harness our nation's unparalleled system of free enterprise (as we have done in all other modes of transport), to create far more reliable and affordable rockets."
The San Francisco Chronicle reports that Obama foresees manned missions to near Earth asteroids and perhaps even Mars in his lifetime.
Obama said, "[By 2025 the U.S. will have a new spacecraft] designed for long journeys to allow us to begin the first-ever crewed missions beyond the moon into deep space." He continued saying, "We'll start by sending astronauts to an asteroid for the first time in history," he said. "By the mid-2030s, I believe we can send humans to orbit Mars and return them safely to Earth. And a landing on Mars will follow. And I expect to be around to see it."
Obama said of a return trip to the moon, "We've been there before." Obama's plans for the space program still need the approval of Congress. Many lawmakers still plan to fight to keep the jobs that Obama's new budget will cut in their home districts. Obama's plans would see 2,500 jobs added in the Florida "Space Coast" by 2012. Thousands will still be unemployed due to the budget cuts.
In a nutshell, says one thing but does another. Just like how he want to redistribute wealth, as long as it goes to well-paid union employees.
Muslims control this?
They don’t feel very good right now. NASA has to help them achieve “feel goodness”.
Alliant Techsystems Inc., most commonly known by its ticker symbol, NYSE: ATK, is one of the largest aerospace and defense companies in the United States with more than 18,000 employees in 22 states, Puerto Rico and internationally, and 2010 revenues in excess of an estimated US$4.8 billion. The company headquarters is located in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
I counted 11 sentences that begin with Obama’s name.
I hate to nitpick, but “five segments” is not the same as “five stages”. I hope NASA engineers know the difference, this reporter apparently doesn’t.
It's called Delta IV. This piece read like a press release from ATK. Ares I is dead.
While the tone is not characterized, I think we can safely assume that this statement was dismissive of a return to the Moon (Luna). If there can be anything so emblematic of our "Community Organizer in Chief", it is this utterly IDIOTIC STATEMENT! With what we know now of Luna's water resources combined with low gravity and solar power potential, Luna remains the stepping stone to the Universe, let alone our solar system.
To say that the 6 landings by Apollo were sufficient is like saying to Columbus, thanks but your last voyage was enough, we will go the other way to Asia. If Obama expects Mars Landings in his lifetime, my question to him would be, by what nation AND how comfortable would he be with Russian and Chinese permanent Lunar outposts and claims? ARGH!
“Obama expects to be around to see man walk on Mars”
So we send him there first? The sooner the better!
See the Youtube ...just above...one stage apparently.
Commentary with this Youtube.
Impressive, I could see six of those grouped around
a center second stage.
Using Orion as an escape capsule only is a real disaster. I guess Nasa’s going on with this in hopes that it can be recovered. Certainly if we get rid of that idiot hussein it can be.
He’ll throw $50b to his union buddies at a second, but could care less about our scientific abilities.
That could take you clear of the solar system.
Given that this is a big evolution of the STS SRB, I wonder whether STS could handle it (if the Orbiters weren’t being retired) and if so how much performance improvement they’d see?
I’d guess that, assuming this monster wouldn’t rip the shuttle stack apart during ascent, the limiting factor wouldn’t be the lofting weight ... but rather how much weight the Orbiter could safely return with in an abort (RTLS, TAL) situation.
(for this too)
Mount a couple of them on roller skates and the roadrunner is dead meat!
Appreciate the ping.
That brought a smile to my face. I expected to see those test stands behind the nozzle to be vaporized but they were still there.
Pretty impressive rocket system to say the least.
That’s going to cause some global warming fer sure.
Mr. Zumbrin is saying this as if he expected the 0-bot to be honest and consistent. Why? What evidence did he have by which to construct such an expectation? I don't get it.