Northrop Grumman successfully tests SLS solid rocket booster


Genesis cover

On Christmas Eve 1968 three Americans became the first humans to visit another world. What they did to celebrate was unexpected and profound, and will be remembered throughout all human history. Genesis: the Story of Apollo 8, Robert Zimmerman's classic history of humanity's first journey to another world, tells that story, and it is now available as both an ebook and an audiobook, both with a foreword by Valerie Anders and a new introduction by Robert Zimmerman.

 
The ebook is available everywhere for $5.99 (before discount) at amazon, or direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit.

 
The audiobook is also available at all these vendors, and is also free with a 30-day trial membership to Audible.
 

"Not simply about one mission, [Genesis] is also the history of America's quest for the moon... Zimmerman has done a masterful job of tying disparate events together into a solid account of one of America's greatest human triumphs." --San Antonio Express-News

Northrop Grumman yesterday successfully test fired a solid rocket booster to confirm its design for use on NASA’s long-delayed and overbudget SLS rocket.

The test, completed at the T97 test area at Northrop Grumman‘s facility in Promontory, Utah, took place on Wednesday, September 2, 2020, at 1:05 PM Mountain Daylight Time (19:05 UTC). A single five-segment SLS solid rocket motor with a thrust of up to 3.6 million pounds was ignited, and burned for approximately two minutes.

The booster is an expanded version of the solid rocket boosters used on the space shuttle, with five segments instead of four, and in fact will use previously flown segments from past shuttle launches. Since this booster will not be recovered, these launches will be the last time those segments fly.

Readers!
 

My July fund-raiser for Behind the Black is now over. The support from my readers was unprecedented, making this July campaign the best ever, twice over. What a marvelous way to celebrate the website's tenth anniversary!
 

Thank you! The number of donations in July, and continuing now at the beginning of August, is too many for me to thank you all personally. Please forgive me by accepting my thank you here, in public, on the website.
 

If you did not donate or subscribe in July and still wish to, note that the tip jar remains available year round.


 

Regular readers can support Behind The Black with a contribution via paypal:

Or with a subscription with regular donations from your Paypal or credit card account:


 

If Paypal doesn't work for you, you can support Behind The Black directly by sending your donation by check, payable to Robert Zimmerman, to
 
Behind The Black
c/o Robert Zimmerman
P.O.Box 1262
Cortaro, AZ 85652

3 comments

  • Gealon

    Ah yes, more waste of shuttle hardware. So not only are they destroying four shuttle engines per launch of this albatross, they are also destroying the SRB’s? That’s actually news to me, but then again I should be surprised by such waste. Now I know we’re not building shuttle engines anymore, so when we use up those engines, that’s it right? We just move on to the next bloated, government run pork project? Or will they replace the SSME’s with something else to give the chosen manufacturer it’s cut of the pork, all while keeping ATK in business making giant solid rocket motors? Apologies for the harsh tone but I think it’s warranted, especially after finding out that NASA isn’t even attempting to recover the SRB’s, something they were originally designed to do. Guess I should be happy this thing will only fly once every four years or what ever their ridiculous schedule was.

  • Edward

    Gealon,
    You asked: “Now I know we’re not building shuttle engines anymore, so when we use up those engines, that’s it right? We just move on to the next bloated, government run pork project? Or will they replace the SSME’s with something else to give the chosen manufacturer

    Fortunately, NASA anticipated this problem, so they have ordered more SSMEs. In addition, because they are now expendable, NASA has paid for a redesign to remove the ability for reuse so that they can save money on each engine. The unit price of each engine is now higher than the price of the reusable engines. Good to know that our money is going for a good purpose.

    it’s cut of the pork, all while keeping ATK in business making giant solid rocket motors?

    As with many government programs, the work is distributed around the country, which helps to get support from Congressmen and Senators. *Sigh*

    The decision to not recover the SRBs was easy for NASA, because reusing the Shuttle SRBs did not save much money. Instead of figuring out how to make this more cost effective, NASA decided to make the SRBs expendable. Because the Space Shuttle was so expensive, NASA and Congress decided that SLS would be designed as a completely expendable rocket with a one-use capsule. Rather than figuring out how to do things better in space, the government chose to regress to 1960s methods. What a shame, and what a waste of NASA’s lessons learned and talented scientists, engineers, and technicians.

    Apologies for the harsh tone but I think it’s warranted, especially after finding out that NASA isn’t even attempting to recover the SRB’s, something they were originally designed to do.

    You are not the only one with harsh tones for SLS. As with all of NASA’s expensive projects, it is costing too much and will return too little. This is a major reason for shifting to commercial space companies. Commercial companies concentrate on projects that make a profit (sustainability), accomplish their goals with minimal cost, and don’t use taxpayer dollars to do it — so no one can complain that the money would be better used to pay people to be unproductive members of society (even NASA’s expensive projects are less costly and more productive than our various welfare programs). Commercial entities in space or on Earth are the zenith of efficiency, and government is the nadir.

    There is far more capital available outside of NASA than there is inside NASA.’ — paraphrased from an interview with NASA Administrator Bridenstine on the Ben Shapiro radio show on Monday 3 August 2020. Going commercial also removes another problem, the debates over what we should do with our limited space funding. When commercial companies choose how to spend their own money, they get to choose to go to the Moon, go to Mars, or go to asteroids. We don’t need a national debate over which destination we should spend our money on. But even better, with multiple companies making their own choices, each company can choose a unique destination, allowing us to go to the Moon, to Mars, and asteroids “at the same time.

    Allowing commercial companies to do their own things in space gives us the opportunity to explore space faster, forces us to develop space-based products that help us on Earth, and allows government projects to explore the more basic scientific areas rather than the areas that show the most promise for profit.

    NASA has reverted to 1960s methods(!) because of government’s aversion to risk. New commercial companies tend to risk it all to develop new methods and products that advance the state of the art (wasn’t NASA going to do that?), and that is their strength. These new companies hope to get a jump on the competition and make a lot of money while everyone else is trying to catch up. SpaceX and Rocket Lab are doing this right now. This is another advantage to going commercial rather than depending upon NASA to take us to the future.

    If Starship becomes operational, SLS will instantaneously become obsolete. So, yes, Gealon, you are justified in your harsh tone.

  • Gealon

    Thank you Edward, very informative. ^__^

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *