Spaceflight Insider

NASA releases stunning slow motion video of QM-2 test fire

Orbital ATK Qualification Motor 2 test fire at Promontory, Utah on June 28, 2016. Photo Credit Mark Usciak / SpaceFlight Insider

NASA and Orbital ATK conducted the QM-2 test fire on June 28, 2016, in Promontory, Utah. Photo Credit: Mark Usciak / SpaceFlight Insider

PROMONTORY, Utah — NASA and Orbital ATK completed the second, and final, Qualification Motor test (QM-2) on June 28, 2016. The data gleaned from the test will now be used to produce the boosters for the Space Agency’s new super-heavy-lift Space Launch System rocket and NASA has unveiled new video from QM-2.

Released on August 5, 2016, the video was produced by a NASA High Dynamic Range Stereo X (HiDyRS-X) camera. As described by the agency, “HiDyRS-X records high-speed, high dynamic range footage in multiple exposures simultaneously for use in analyzing rocket engine tests.”

According to NASA, whereas regular video cameras record a single exposure at a time, HiDyRS-X captures “multiple, slow motion video exposures at once”. This should allow for them to be combined and then used for analysis.

QM-2 lasted for approximately two minutes and six seconds and helped validate the boosters’ cold climate characteristics. With all three development and both qualification tests now behind them, engineers will work on integrating the two boosters onto the SLS before its first test flight.

Five-segment solid rocket boosters, similar to the one tested this past June, are planned to provide 75 percent of the thrust SLS will need to send its payloads into low-Earth orbit. The first test flight of the full stack (including the second Orion spacecraft launched to orbit) will be Exploration Mission 1 – currently slated for a late 2018 launch.

Video courtesy of NASA



Jason Rhian spent several years honing his skills with internships at NASA, the National Space Society and other organizations. He has provided content for outlets such as: Aviation Week & Space Technology,, The Mars Society and Universe Today.

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