Orbital ATK technicians detach the center forward segment from the forward segment of NASA’s five-segment booster that fired up for testing March 11 at Orbital ATK’s test facility in Promontory, Utah. The two-minute static test was the first of two ground tests to support qualification of the boosters that will help launch the first flight of NASA’s new rocket–the Space Launch System (SLS). The most powerful launch vehicle ever built, SLS will take humans and cargo on deep space missions, including an asteroid and ultimately to Mars. Disassembly and inspection of the booster is ongoing, but preliminary analysis of the test data shows all test objectives were successfully completed during the hot fire. The second qualification test is planned for early 2016. Once qualified, flight booster hardware will undergo final manufacturing and preparation for shipment to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida for the rocket’s first unmanned flight.
Image credit: Orbital ATK