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Morton Thiokol to Conduct Second Shuttle Rocket Test-Firing Today

December 19, 1987|Associated Press

BRIGHAM CITY, Utah — America's manned space flight program faces another test today when Morton Thiokol Inc. conducts the second full-scale firing of its redesigned shuttle booster rocket.

The results of the test will help determine if the National Aeronautics and Space Administration can meet its June 2, 1988, timetable for resuming shuttle flights.

The shuttle program was halted and the booster manufacturer launched a redesign program after the explosion that destroyed Challenger and killed its seven crew members on Jan. 28, 1986.

Cold Weather a Factor

A presidential commission found that hot flaming gases leaked from a joint between two segments of one of Challenger's solid fuel boosters, igniting the shuttle's huge external fuel tank. Cold weather was found to be a factor in the joint seal failure.

Thiokol's first full-scale test was conducted on Aug. 30 and declared a success.

Company officials said the 126-foot-long, 1.2 million-pound booster, lying horizontally, would be fired for two minutes at the company's test site 25 miles west of Brigham City. It will be fitted with more than 500 instruments to measure acceleration, pressure, thrust, temperature, electrical system performance and other factors.

The booster contains numerous design updates for the joints where the four segments are joined, including an extra O-ring seal.

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