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Watch NASA fire the largest solid rocket booster in the world

One of NASA’s main focuses right now is the development of the Space Launch System (SLS). It’s a super heavy-lift launch vehicle class of rocket, intended to take both cargo and crew into space. It has 20% more thrust than the Saturn V and can carry at least as much payload. It’s also going to get more powerful with upgrades once in service.

But before that can happen, NASA needs to perfect the design and that means carrying our extensive testing. Yesterday, one of those tests happened with the latest SLS rocket design being test fired at Orbital ATK’s test facilities in Promontory, Utah.

You can see the test in action from multiple angles in the video below:

The aim of the test was to evaluate the 82 qualifications necessary for the SLS to be certified ready as a booster for flight. The rocket firing lasted for 2-minutes and saw the temperature inside reach 6,000 degrees Fahrenheit. For all intents and purposes it was a complete success, however, engineers now need to go and review all of the recorded test data and see if there are any anomalies.

As the video and images show, the SLS looks incredible and reminds us just how much energy is required to lift people and cargo into space. It is required that the first configuration of the SLS be able to lift 70-metric-tons of weight, where as future upgrades should increase that to 130-metric-tons.

As for missions, four are planned. The first is scheduled to happen by November 2018 and will see an unmanned Orion capsule launched for a trip around the Moon. Then at some point in between 2021 and 2023 a manned mission will see another Orion capsule launched and sent into a lunar orbit. Between 2022 and 2025 an unmanned Europa probe and lander will be sent to Jupiter, and finally in 2026 a manned Orion capsule containing 4 crew will be sent to an asteroid for capture and placement in a lunar orbit (if everything goes to plan).

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