NASA and SLS test booster rocket for future Artemis mission

NASA and Space Launch System (SLS) recently began assembling boosters for the rocket used for the Artemis mission to the moon. The purpose of the assembly and testing was to evaluate materials and processes to allow for improved rocket boosters for use on missions after Artemis III. NASA has completed a full-scale booster test for the SLS rocket in Utah on September 2.NASA and Northrop Grumman will use data collected during the test to evaluate the motor's performance using potential new materials and processes to be incorporated into future boosters. Northrop Grumman is a NASA contractor that will build boosters for future rocket flights. The test lasted a little over two minutes, which is the same amount of time that the booster will power the SLS rocket during lift-off and flight for each Artemis mission.

The five-segment flight support booster produced more than 3 million pounds of thrust. This test came after NASA and Northrop Grumman previously completed three development motor tests and two qualification motor tests for the booster. The test held on September 2 was called Flight Support Booster-1 and builds on prior tests to introduce propellant ingredients from new suppliers.

NASA points out that the SLS boosters are the largest and most powerful boosters ever built for flight. The booster used in the test is the same size and has the same power as the flight version of a five-segment solid rocket booster that will be used for the Artemis missions.

NASA is working to land the first woman and the next man on the moon by 2024. The agency says the SLS rocket, Orion spacecraft, Gateway, and human landing system are all part of the NASA backbone for deep space exploration. Experience gained on these moon missions will be used to send humans to Mars in the future.