Press Release

NASA Invites Media, Social Media to Major Space Launch System Booster Test

By SpaceRef Editor
January 29, 2015
Filed under , ,

Media and social media followers are invited to watch as NASA tests the largest, most powerful booster ever built March 11 at ATK Aerospace System’s test facility in Promontory, Utah. The booster will power NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS), which will be used to help send humans to deep space destinations including an asteroid and Mars. 

The two-minute, full-duration static test is a significant milestone in the development of the SLS and comes after years of development to qualify the booster design performance at the highest end of the booster’s accepted temperature range. Once this test and a second, low-temperature test planned for early 2016, are complete, the hardware will be ready to help send the rocket, with NASA’s Orion spacecraft atop it, on its first flight test.

Forty-five social media participants will be selected to attend a NASA Social March 10 and 11, which include tours of ATK facilities, interviews with NASA and ATK officials and a chance to view the powerful test firing. Social media followers can apply to attend the event at:  

All social media accreditation applications will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Details and rules for social media accreditation also are listed on the website.

U.S. media must contact ATK’s Kay Anderson at 435-230-2787 or to request credentials. Registration for foreign national media and NASA Social applicants closes at 5 p.m. EST Sunday, Feb. 8. Registration for U.S. citizens closes at 5 p.m. Monday, Feb. 16.

During the test, 103 design objectives will be measured through more than 534 instrumentation channels on the booster. It will be heated to 90 degrees Fahrenheit to measure solid rocket booster performance at high temperatures, and demonstrate it meets applicable structural and ballistic requirements. Other objectives include data gathering on vital motor upgrades, such as the new insulation and booster case liner and the redesigned nozzle, which increase the robustness of the design.

When completed, two five-segment, solid-rocket boosters and four RS-25 main engines will power the SLS on deep space missions. The boosters operate in parallel with the main engines for the first two minutes of flight, providing more than 75 percent of the thrust needed for the launch vehicle to escape Earth’s gravitational pull.

The first flight test of SLS will feature a configuration for a 70-metric-ton (77 ton) lift capacity and carry an uncrewed Orion spacecraft beyond low-Earth orbit to test the performance of the integrated system. As the SLS is upgraded, it will provide an unprecedented lift capability of 130-metric-tons (143 tons) to enable missions even farther into our solar system.

For more information on SLS, visit:        


SpaceRef staff editor.