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Interface Load Cells Test World’s Largest Rocket Motor

03.20.2015

NASA’s goal is to send humans back to deep space in the next decade and Interface helped them take a major step forward. On March 11th, NASA was successful test firing the largest and most powerful rocket booster ever built. The rocket will be used to propel NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and manned Orion spacecraft to destinations including the Moon, Asteroids and Mars.

This powerful rocket was built, launched and tested using Interface Load Cells in Utah. 


What makes it the most powerful rocket motor? The five-segment rocket motor produces a thrust of up to 3.6 million pounds. That equates to 22 million horsepower! Temperatures inside the booster exceeded over 5,600 degrees F.

“It’s an immense amount of energy, but that’s the amount of energy we have to harness to get crew out of lower Earth orbit,” said Charlie Precourt, vice president and general manager of Orbital ATK’s space launch division.”

The SLS will first send an unmanned capsule on a test run around the moon in 2018 and hopefully to Mars in the not too distant future. 

“Can you imagine humans living and working on Mars? To me that’s really exciting… Now it’s just a matter of when, and this is a big step,” said NASA Astronaut Tony Antonelli.

During the two minute long test firing, more than 500 sensors, including the Interface Load Cells, monitored the booster and it will take months for NASA to analyze the results. All indications are showing a very successful test. 

A second test is planned a year from now and will qualify the boosters for use with the SLS.

Watch the video of the test firing here: https://youtu.be/Ts9sFtUSeQE