What: NASA’s Space Shuttle program will test the first of two Flight Verification Motors, a full-scale Reusable Solid Rocket Motor, at the facilities of ATK Thiokol Inc., an Alliant Techsystems company, in Promontory, Utah. The test on motor is expected to provide a better understanding of mid-life rocket motors. Shuttle Solid Rocket Motors are certified for flight for five years.

Two Solid Rocket Boosters, each carrying four Reusable Solid Rocket Motors, provide a combined thrust of some 5.8 million pounds for the Space Shuttle during the first two minutes of flight. The Boosters take the Shuttle to an altitude of 28 miles at a speed of 3,094 mph before they separate and fall into the ocean to be retrieved, then refurbished and prepared for another flight.

The four right-hand segments of Reusable Solid Rocket Motor 89 set will be used for the test. Each motor is divided into four segments of propellant, each bound by a metal casing. Once the segments are joined, they become part of the left or right Booster.

The Flight Verification Test is an opportunity for NASA and ATK Thiokol engineers to gather information not typically gained from previous motor tests that focus on qualifying new products. It will also further validate motor lifespan, a certification established by NASA more than 20 years ago at the beginning of the Space Shuttle Program. The left-hand motors of the RSRM 89 set will be tested in fall of 2007, according to Jody Singer, manager of the Reusable Solid Rocket Motor Project, part of the Space Shuttle Propulsion Office at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala.

When: Thursday, Feb. 17, at 1 p.m. MST

Where: Facilities of ATK Thiokol Inc., an Alliant Techsystems company, at Promontory, Utah

To attend: To attend the firing, media representatives must register with Melodie de Guibert of ATK Thiokol by telephoning (435) 863-3169 no later than 1 p.m. MST Wednesday, Feb. 16.