Avionics Test Paves Way for SLS Booster Firing in 2013

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The solid rocket booster avionics for the first two test flight of NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) heavy-lift rocket were tested March 28 at ATK Aerospace’s Promontory, Utah, facility, according to an April 2 NASA press release. The test was meant to pave the way for a full-scale booster firing early next year.

During the test, dubbed Flight Control Test 1 (FCT-1), ATK technicians used a new SLS booster avionics system to command space shuttle-heritage thrust vector control actuators during a simulated launch. Two additional tests are planned for the avionics and control system, NASA said.

“We are pleased to see how the avionics system functioned outside the lab,” Todd May, SLS program manager at Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., said in a statement. “This test provides and insightful first look at how the booster thrust vector control system will operate and interface with flight hardware.”

ATK is the booster prime contractor for the first two SLS test flights, planned for 2017 and 2021. The first qualification test of a five-segment SLS booster is slated for spring 2013.