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NASA Successfully Completes Solid Rocket Motor Test April 28
June Malone
Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Ala.
(Phone: 256.544.0034)

News release: 06-061

A reusable solid rocket motor successfully fires during testing April 28 at a Utah test facility. The static-fire test was conducted by ATK Launch Systems in Promontory for NASA’s Space Shuttle Program. NASA's Space Shuttle Program successfully static fired a full-scale, full-duration reusable solid rocket motor Friday, April 28, at a Utah test facility. The two-minute test was performed at ATK Launch Systems, an Alliant Techsystems Inc. group, in Promontory.

The flight support motor, FSM-12, burned for approximately 123 seconds, the same amount of time each reusable solid rocket motor burns during an actual space shuttle launch. The test firing included 62 specific objectives and used 711 instrumentation channels to collect and evaluate the motor's performance.

Preliminary data indicates that all test objectives were met. After NASA technicians analyze all final test data, results for each objective will be published in a final report which will be available later this year.

Regular static-fire tests of space shuttle reusable solid rocket motors maintain the highest safety, quality and reliability standards of solid rocket motors used for human space flight. Testing provides the highest confidence possible on the performance of motors in NASA's Space Shuttle Program.

"Full-scale static testing continues to be a key element of our 'test before you fly' standard that we apply to our processes, material, hardware and design changes," 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 in Huntsville, Ala. "Testing such as this is important to ensure continued quality and performance."

The shuttle's reusable solid rocket motor is the largest solid rocket motor ever flown, the only one rated for human flight and the first designed for reuse. Each shuttle launch requires the boost of two reusable solid rocket motors to lift the 4.5-million-pound shuttle vehicle.

During space shuttle flights, solid rocket motors provide 80 percent of the thrust during the first two minutes of flight. Each motor generates an average thrust of 2.6 million pounds and is just over 126 feet long and 12 feet in diameter. It is the primary component of the shuttle's twin solid rocket boosters.

During a shuttle launch, the solid propellant rockets take the shuttle to an altitude of 28 miles at a speed of 3,094 mph before they separate and fall into the ocean to be retrieved, then refurbished and prepared for another flight.

ATK Launch Systems manufactures the shuttle's solid rocket motor at its Promontory plant north of Salt Lake City.

For more information about the Space Shuttle Program, visit:

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:

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