Rockets are one of the most important parts of space exploration programs. They are what help us navigate the extremely tough job of getting past our own atmosphere.
Not only that, they are also crucial for managing course correction in long terms space expeditions that have to travel long distances in a specific amount of time.
While current rocket technology is good enough to take care of most short term projects such as satellite launches and lunar expeditions, they still aren’t capable of taking care of long term projects such as the upcoming Mars mission.
For long term missions like this, NASA has developed and tested a brand new type of booster which will power the Space Launch System (SLS) that’ll one day get us all the way to Mars.
A single one of these new thrusters can generate upto 3.6 million pounds of thrust, while the SLS is expected to be armed with two of these for the actual project.
The final testing of this system was just carried out in a desert environment, where it proved capable of burning propellant fuel which was cooled to 4 Degree Celsius, all the way up to 3,100 Degree Celsius.
What makes this test special is the fact that this is the last trial of the system’s boosters. The only time we will see this system in action again will be the 2018 unmanned launch of the Orion Spacecraft, aimed directly at Mars.
This is why the success of this test was such a big deal, as it has properly cemented our hopes and dreams for deep space exploration.