NASA’s heavy-lift booster blasts through test

Image: SLS booster test
Orbital ATK’s solid-rocket booster is in the midst of a test firing in Utah. (Credit: NASA)

The solid-rocket booster that’s destined to help send future NASA missions into deep space has blasted through its last full-scale test firing in advance of 2018’s maiden launch of the heavy-lift SLS rocket.

Today’s two-minute, six-second firing at Orbital ATK’s test range near Promontory, Utah, wowed hundreds of workers and onlookers who gathered (at a safe distance) to watch the booster light up like a “Game of Thrones” dragon.

“It’s always a blast,” Alex Priskos, manager of NASA’s Space Launch System Boosters Office, said with a straight face afterward.

Charlie Precourt, a former NASA astronaut who is now Orbital ATK’s vice president and general manager for propulsion systems, said it was a “beautiful test.”

“That rumble that you get is awesome,” he said.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.

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