NASA and Alliant Techsystems (ATK) successfully completed a static ground test of the 2nd Ares 5-segment Development Motor (DM-2) at their Promontory, Utah based test site on August 31, 2010. The test lasted 2 minutes and the 5-segment solid rocket, an updated version of the Space Shuttle Solid Booster rockets, produced 3.6 million pound-force of thrust (22 million hp). This new generation rocket is the largest and most powerful solid rocket motor designed for flight, thus expanding the launch capability of the US making possible future heavy-lift launch vehicles. The older version of these rocket motors, which had been used on the Space Shuttle for more than 3 decades, only had 4 segments. With the addition of the 5th segment, new nozzles and better insulation, the new generation solid fuel rocket motor will be used in conjunction with a liquid upper stage to lift more than 55,000 pounds to low earth orbit.
Prior to the test, the rocket motor was cooled to 40 deg. F (4 deg. C) to test the performance of new materials and motors at low temperatures. This rocket motor is intended to operate at temperatures of between 40 and 90 deg. F (4 to 32 deg. C).
The results of the test were positive. Another test, involving hot temperature test of the DM-3 motor, is planned for next year.