A Nighttime Test Fire of a Solid Rocket Booster - An Engineer's Aspect


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Saturday, June 20, 2009

A Nighttime Test Fire of a Solid Rocket Booster

On November 16, 2006, ATK Launch conducted a rare night static test of the four-segment solid rocket booster. I was working I was working for ATK Launch on the Crew Launch Vehicle Stage Structures Team for the new five-segment solid rocket booster at the time. I put in a full day of work that day and thought about driving out for the test fire, but it seemed that the entire area had the same idea. The traffic was quite prohibitive.

My two sons, Matt and Kaleb, were driving from Idaho, where they were attending college, to visit me. I forgot to tell them that the booster test was going on. They happened to be on I-15 heading south in just the right spot when the test fire began. I got a call from Kaleb on the cell phone. He queried, "Mom, is ATK Launch over the hill west of Tremonton?" I said yes. He replied, "I hate to tell you this, but I don't think it's there anymore...it looks like a nuclear bomb went off!"

I guess the night test was quite spectacular.

Here is the ATK Press Release regarding the test. Nasa also issued an official statement.

Below are three videos posted on YouTube from the November test firing. Very cool stuff.