The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has successfully tested just recently its rocket boosters intended for use in future missions to the Moon.
The test that was conducted was a full-scale flight support booster (FSB) examination according to a report on Space.com by Elizabeth Howell. The test is part of the space agency’s ramping up efforts to forward its Space Launch System (SLS) project with the aim to be ready to support manned missions soon.
What a view! @NASA astronauts @JonnyKimUSA and @Astro_FarmerBob watched today's SLS Flight Support Booster (FSB-1) test with @northropgrumman's Jeff Foote and Charlie Precourt. pic.twitter.com/4jG3tfBB0u— NASA_SLS (@NASA_SLS) September 2, 2020
Results of the recently concluded test will be analyzed by NASA specialists before being made available to the public, Howell shares. According to Nikolas Ciaston, a ballistics engineer at Northrop Grumman, the test was intended to evaluate the new materials used and to check whether all the ballistics requirements of the motor were satisfied by the current build. Northrop Grumman is a private contractor tapped by NASA to partner with the project.
According to a statement from the space agency cited by Howell, NASA is going to use the results of the latest test to prepare for the booster rockets that will succeed after the Artemis 3 mission. Scheduled for a 2024 launch, Artemis 3 will be the space agency’s latest attempt to send humans to the moon after decades.
There have been at least five similar natured tests that were conducted by the private contractor since 2009 with the latest test coming after the delays brought upon by the Coronavirus disease – 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic which led to the hampering of general works in the project for physical distancing was mandated and the shipping delays that ensued due to the limited economic activity.
Additionally, the project has seen an increase to its cost estimate with it now being $9.1 billion compared to the first original estimate of $7.02 billion last 2014.
Howell shares that the Space Launch System project is expected to launch its first craft next year with an unmanned Orion spacecraft. This will then be followed by another mission, this time carrying with it a team of astronauts to make way for the human landing mission in 2024.