Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

NASA's Record-Setting Solid Rocket Enjoys Successful Test-Fire ( At Utah test site )
Daily Tech ^ | September 1, 2010 9:26 AM | Jason Mick (Blog)

Posted on 09/06/2010 9:57:46 AM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach


NASA's latest five-segment solid rocket development motor (DM-2)   (Source: NASA)

DM-2 awaits its first test fire

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.



TOPICS: Business/Economy; Foreign Affairs; Government; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: dm2; iss; nasa; orion; rockets; solidrocketboosters; srb

1 posted on 09/06/2010 9:57:50 AM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: All; NormsRevenge; SunkenCiv; Fred Nerks; Marine_Uncle; KevinDavis; BOBTHENAILER; steelyourfaith; ..

The largest solid-fuel rocket in history.


2 posted on 09/06/2010 10:02:15 AM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach ( Support Geert Wilders)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

“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.....


3 posted on 09/06/2010 10:05:42 AM PDT by illiac (If we don't change directions soon, we'll get where we're going)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

This is like an absurdist play.

Why are we developing delivery systems that we have no plans to use?


4 posted on 09/06/2010 10:06:01 AM PDT by denydenydeny (You're not only wrong. You're wrong at the top of your voice. --Spencer Tracy, Bad Day at Black Rock)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Ernest_at_the_Beach
FULL-SCALE NASA, ALLIANT TECHSYSTEMS SOLID ROCKET MOTOR TEST SET FOR AUG. 31

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 …

Read all of this article with a FREE trial

5 posted on 09/06/2010 10:06:39 AM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach ( Support Geert Wilders)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

NASAToy


6 posted on 09/06/2010 10:08:03 AM PDT by FrankR (It doesn't matter what they call us, only what we answer to....)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: denydenydeny
From the article:

Of course something needs to blast Orion into orbit.

7 posted on 09/06/2010 10:08:41 AM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach ( Support Geert Wilders)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: Ernest_at_the_Beach
Promontory, Utah

**************************EXCERPT*********************************

Promontory in Box Elder County, Utah, United States, is notable as the location of Promontory Summit where the United States' first Transcontinental Railroad was officially completed on May 10, 1869.

It is at an elevation of 1494 meters (4902 ft) above sea level.[1] 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.

8 posted on 09/06/2010 10:11:50 AM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach ( Support Geert Wilders)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: denydenydeny
"This is like an absurdist play. Why are we developing delivery systems that we have no plans to use?"

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.

NASA; politics; satire

9 posted on 09/06/2010 10:12:00 AM PDT by Flag_This (Real presidents don't bow.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

Do Muslims feel good about this?


10 posted on 09/06/2010 10:13:41 AM PDT by Dallas59 (President Robert Gibbs 2009-2013)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: denydenydeny
Just chasing some details:

Obama Clarifies Plans for NASA

***********************EXCERPT*******************************

Shane McGlaun (Blog) - April 16, 2010 10:30 AM

Obama expects to be around to see man walk on Mars

The U.S. manned space flight programs were dealt a serious blow when Obama announced plans to go back to the moon were being shelved due to budget cuts and cost overruns. The budget cuts meant that the Constellation program would be cancelled.

The outcry against the President's plan was swift from space program supporters and NASA. Obama quickly began to take steps to alter his plans and called for the Orion crew module originally planned as the shuttle replacement to be scaled back and used as a lifeboat for the ISS. Obama had announced that he would talk about his plans for NASA and the space program in Florida earlier this week.

Obama has now aired his plans, clarifying some points and helping to dress wounds caused when he originally announced his plans for NASA. Obama's plan still calls for a scaled back Constellation program that would see the program continue, but only as a shadow of its former self. The changes still mean thousands in the space industry will be left jobless.

The shuttle fleet is set to retire this year with only three more scheduled flights remaining for the fleet with the last scheduled for September. Obama has promised additional funds to allow NASA padding if a launch has to be rescheduled due to weather. Some hope that the extra funds can instead be used to fund an extra mission.

Once the shuttle fleet is retired, getting astronauts to and from the ISS will be left to the Russian Soyuz spacecraft at a cost of about $50 million per round trip.

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.

11 posted on 09/06/2010 10:17:33 AM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach ( Support Geert Wilders)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: Ernest_at_the_Beach
But the President, while calling for such a flight, actually is terminating the programs that would make it possible.

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.

12 posted on 09/06/2010 10:18:06 AM PDT by King Moonracer (Bad lighting and cheap fabric, that's how you sell clothing.....)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Dallas59

Muslims control this?


13 posted on 09/06/2010 10:18:48 AM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach ( Support Geert Wilders)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

They don’t feel very good right now. NASA has to help them achieve “feel goodness”.


14 posted on 09/06/2010 10:20:41 AM PDT by Dallas59 (President Robert Gibbs 2009-2013)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 13 | View Replies]

To: Ernest_at_the_Beach
Alliant Techsystems

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.[3] The company headquarters is located in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

15 posted on 09/06/2010 10:23:06 AM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach ( Support Geert Wilders)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

I counted 11 sentences that begin with Obama’s name.


16 posted on 09/06/2010 10:37:02 AM PDT by wastedyears (Iron Maiden's new album in the top 5 in the US. Incredible)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies]

To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

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.


17 posted on 09/06/2010 11:09:22 AM PDT by ZOOKER ( Exploring the fine line between cynicism and outright depression)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Ernest_at_the_Beach
Of course something needs to blast Orion into orbit.

It's called Delta IV. This piece read like a press release from ATK. Ares I is dead.

18 posted on 09/06/2010 11:43:25 AM PDT by NonZeroSum
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: Ernest_at_the_Beach
Obama said of a return trip to the moon, "We've been there before."

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!

19 posted on 09/06/2010 11:52:33 AM PDT by SES1066 (Cycling to conserve, Conservative to save, Saving to Retire, will Retire to Cycle.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies]

To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

“Obama expects to be around to see man walk on Mars”

So we send him there first? The sooner the better!


20 posted on 09/06/2010 12:12:21 PM PDT by cll (I am the warrant and the sanction)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 11 | View Replies]

To: cll

ROFL!


21 posted on 09/06/2010 1:10:33 PM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach ( Support Geert Wilders)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 20 | View Replies]

To: SES1066; NormsRevenge; Marine_Uncle; SunkenCiv; blam; Fred Nerks; Brad's Gramma; onyx; SE Mom; ...
Found a youtube:

DM-2: NASA/ATK test fires five-segment solid rocket motor

AWESOME


22 posted on 09/06/2010 1:21:07 PM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach ( Support Geert Wilders)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 19 | View Replies]

To: ZOOKER; NonZeroSum; wastedyears; Dallas59

See the Youtube ...just above...one stage apparently.


23 posted on 09/06/2010 1:27:04 PM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach ( Support Geert Wilders)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 17 | View Replies]

To: Ernest_at_the_Beach
Earlier test :

Ares I - DM-1 Test of 5 Segment Motor - September 10th, 2009 - HD

Commentary with this Youtube.

24 posted on 09/06/2010 1:43:17 PM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach ( Support Geert Wilders)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 23 | View Replies]

To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

Impressive, I could see six of those grouped around
a center second stage.


25 posted on 09/06/2010 1:57:45 PM PDT by tet68 ( " We would not die in that man's company, that fears his fellowship to die with us...." Henry V.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 22 | View Replies]

To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

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.


26 posted on 09/06/2010 2:00:11 PM PDT by Tolsti2
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: tet68

That could take you clear of the solar system.


27 posted on 09/06/2010 2:07:20 PM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach ( Support Geert Wilders)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 25 | View Replies]

To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

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.


28 posted on 09/06/2010 2:18:38 PM PDT by tanknetter
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

Thanks E!

(for this too)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gLDwHKZfvMk


29 posted on 09/06/2010 2:29:12 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (Democratic Underground... matters are worse, as their latest fund drive has come up short...)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 22 | View Replies]

To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

Mount a couple of them on roller skates and the roadrunner is dead meat!


30 posted on 09/06/2010 3:16:30 PM PDT by Eaker (Pablo is very wily)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 22 | View Replies]

To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

Appreciate the ping.


31 posted on 09/06/2010 3:25:29 PM PDT by steelyourfaith ("Release the Second Chakra !!!!!!!" ... Al Gore, 10/24/06)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

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.


32 posted on 09/06/2010 3:36:16 PM PDT by Moonman62 (Politicians exist to break windows so they may spend other people's money to fix them.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 22 | View Replies]

To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

Pretty impressive rocket system to say the least.


33 posted on 09/06/2010 5:30:13 PM PDT by Marine_Uncle (Honor must be earned....)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: Ernest_at_the_Beach

That’s going to cause some global warming fer sure.


34 posted on 09/06/2010 7:19:26 PM PDT by smokingfrog (freerepublic.com - Thanks JimRob! The flags are back! - 8/17/2010.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 22 | View Replies]

To: Ernest_at_the_Beach
"But the President, while calling for such a flight, actually is terminating the programs that would make it possible."

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.

/rhetorical faux-befuddlement

35 posted on 09/06/2010 7:36:56 PM PDT by Carry_Okie (The RINOcrat Party is still in charge. There has never been a conservative American government.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
News/Activism
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson