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Rocket Booster Nozzle Blows Apart In The Course Of Test Firing By NASA

Rocket Booster Nozzle Blows Apart In The Course Of Test Firing By NASA

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First Posted: Sep 21, 2016 04:02 AM EDT
Test fires can deliver a make or break result for each of NASA's missions, however recently, an unfortunate test fire led to a rocket blowing apart its nozzle.
(Photo : NASA / Gettyimages)

In its journey towards the outer space, rockets are not expected to explode into tiny bits. An exception to the rule, however, is the booster's nozzle plug for the SLS or Space Launch System from NASA which is still in the works.

The agency released a slow motion video depicting its SLS booster test conducted on June 28 and has been hailed as the best footage for rocket boosters ever since the blastoff of orbital ATK HDR, as reported by Inverse.

The plug was intended to protect the interior of the booster from elements like moisture, dust, and heat. Once the nozzle exploded, it would have possibly been reckoned to have served the purpose and considered one among several disposable elements. But, in the instant case, the explosion was not an accident and NASA had caused it with intention. Therefore, all the resulting fragments could be numbered in advance so that they can be gathered together, and reassembled for future use. According to NASA, the pieces were strewn around some 2,000 feet.

The SLS has been designed to power the manned missions to Mars that are in the pipeline and is among the most powerful rockets that exist today. The booster alone has an imposing height of 177 feet and during the June 28 test in Utah, the power of the booster turned to sand in the abutting area into a glass! The test lasted just two minutes and has been successful on all known metrics and evidenced efficient functioning of the booster braving temperature extremes.

The test also confirms that SLS continues to be on track for the scheduled 2018 unmanned mission that will hover around the moon, deeper into space than has been traveled by any human so far. Three weeks later, the rocket will return to coastal California.

In a released statement dated September 19, NASA also stated that the core stage of the rocket would soon be transported via a barge to Stennis Space Center in St. Louis. Once it arrives there, a "green run" or assembling of different engine components and testing the whole system as one cohesive unit will commence.

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