Spaceflight Now: Breaking News

Titan 4 solid rocket motor test firing successful
Posted: April 6, 2000

  Test firing
Nearly 1.7 million pounds of thrust were generated during a recent Titan 4 test at Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. The test validated an enhanced carbon-carbon nozzle. Photo: USAF
The Titan 4 Solid Rocket Motor Upgrade (SRMU) booster using a new nozzle material was successfully test fired here at 10:58 a.m. on March 19.

The test lasted 140 seconds, generating 1.7 million pounds of thrust. The 11-story high, three-segment solid rocket booster weighed approximately 750,000 pounds. It was filled with solid rocket propellant.

The booster's static test firing took place on the Air Force Research Laboratory's historic Test Stand 1-C overlooking the massive dry lakebed at Edwards. This is the latest validation test for the Titan 4 space launch program managed by Space and Missile Systems Center at Los Angeles AFB, El Segundo, CA.

The Titan 4 SMRU was developed to enhance the performance of the nation's largest heavy lift space launch vehicle. The SMRU has increased the Titan 4 system's lift capability by 25 percent while improving its reliability.

This test provides the program with full system data to validate the performance of new materials used in manufacturing the SRMU's enhanced Carbon-phenolic nozzle. The new materials are manufactured in an environmentally sound manner replacing materials that were no longer compliant or available under current environmental regulations. The new materials are made by HITCO Carbon Composites.

The last test of the SRMU's on Test Stand 1-C took place in late 1993, completing a successful series of five validation tests over a wide range of operating temperatures. The SRMU's have been successfully used since that time for Titan 4-C launches.

The SRMU's manufacturer, Alliant Tech Systems, conducted the test under Air Force supervision with the assistance of General Physics Corporation and Lampson Crane. Alliant is under contract to the Titan 4 prime contractor, Lockheed Martin Aerospace Corp. of Denver Colorado.

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