The NASA-ordered SLS moon rocket boosters are manufactured by Northrop Grumman. These are upgrade boosters from the Shuttles, which have been added one section to increase the thrust by 25% and almost completely replaced the electronics. In fact, Northrop is making new products that have not yet been tested by space flights, which means that it needs to be fully tested on Earth, which the manufacturer is successfully managing.
The other day, Northrop Grumman conducted successful fire tests of Flight Support Booster-2 solid-fuel boosters and shared impressive engine video work. A pair of these boosters provide up to 75% of the thrust at the start-up stage of the SLS rocket, although they are relatively small compared to the missile, for only 47 metres long.
For the first eight missions, Artemis, Northrop will produce upgraded FSB-2 and for the ninth and subsequent missions, brand-new Boster Obsolecence and LifeExtension boosters will be released. The recent FSB-2 fire tests not only confirmed the readiness of boosters to fly missiles under the new NASA lunar program, but also allowed Northrop engineers to gather 300 monitored data for the design of advanced BOLE accelerators.
The FSB-2 booster has been operating for two minutes and has created a thrust of up to 1.600 tons. A new engine ignition system, materials and electronic drive vector control system have been tested during the tests. Unlike the Shuttle boosters, the FSB-2 will be one-time but more powerful. For the Shuttles, 4-section boosters have been produced, and for the SLS rocket, boosters with another additional hard fuel section, 5-section boosters have been developed, but they are generally very, very similar to the previous ones.
The future BOLE boosters will receive a composite body and a mass of upgrades. It is expected that the first sample of the BOLE accelerator will be tested this fall, but first we hope to see the SLS flight to the moon with Orion ship without crew, which should happen in a month with a small one. This will be a real test for upgraded accelerators.