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For release: 10/17/03
Release #: 03-185

3.6 million-plus pounds of thrust to drive test of Space Shuttle engineering motor close-to-edge; Test set Thursday, Oct. 23

Photo description: A similar motor was tested in November 2002.

The most powerful Space Shuttle Reusable Solid Rocket Motor ever tested is scheduled for a ground test at a Utah facility Thursday, Oct. 23. The static — or stationary — firing of the engineering motor will generate more than 3.6 million pounds of thrust, pushing the five-segment motor to its boundaries to gauge its capabilities.

Photo: A similar motor was tested in November 2002. (Thiokol)


What: The latest static — or stationary — test of an engineering motor for the Space Shuttle’s Solid Rocket Booster will generate more than 3.6 million pounds of thrust, pushing the five-segment motor to its boundaries to gauge its capabilities. The test, part of the Shuttle’s on-going safety program, will run for 128 seconds, five seconds longer than the motors would operate during launch. The Space Shuttle launches with a four-segment motor with the maximum thrust of 3.3 million pounds.

An engineering test motor simulates many of the conditions experienced in flight and offers engineers the opportunity to better assess the strength of the current design, to spot potential flaws in the design, to verify new materials and to certify manufacturing processes.

The Reusable Solid Rocket Motor Project Office at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., and ATK Thiokol Propulsion, an Alliant Techsystems Inc., company in Promontory, Utah, are jointly conducting the test.

When: Thursday, Oct. 23, 1 p.m. MDT

Where: Promontory, Utah, facilities of ATK Thiokol

To attend: News media wishing to attend the test or needing more information about the test should contact Melodie deGuibert of ATK Thiokol at (435) 863-3169.

A special viewing area for news media will be provided at Thiokol's test facility. To attend the firing, media representatives must register with Melodie deGuibert of Thiokol by telephoning (435) 863-3169 no later than 10 a.m. MDT Wednesday, Oct. 22.

For supporting materials for this news release — such as photographs, fact sheets, video and audio files and more — please visit the NASA Marshall Center Newsroom Web site at:

http://www.msfc.nasa.gov/news

or call the Marshall Center Media Relations Department at (256) 544-0034.

For more information:
Note to Editors


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June Malone
Public Affairs Office
(256) 544-0034

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