NASA blasted the world’s biggest rocket at its desert test base – and caught the spectacular results on camera. The rocket motor plumes from the Space Launch System booster can be seen in stunning detail, thanks to NASA’s new High Dynamic Range Stereo X camera (HiDyRS-X).
Filming rocket motor tests is notoriously difficult because the bright plumes are difficult to record without cutting down the exposure settings on the camera.
But the HiDyRS-X overcomes this by recording multiple slow-motion video exposures at the same time.
It was trialled for the first time to capture the test of the QM-2 booster in June, at NASA’s test facility in Utah.
The video has only just emerged, and shows the epic power of a rocket in unprecedented detail.
The camera was triggered remotely, but due to a glitch it missed the initial ignition.
It also lost power at the might of the booster shook the ground.
Mr Howard Conyers, a structural dynamist at NASA’s Stennis Space Centre, who led the testing, said: “I was bummed. Especially because we did not experience any failures during the dry runs.
“Failure during testing of the camera is the opportunity to get smarter.
“Without failure, technology and innovation is not possible.”
It was the Space Launch System’s (SLS) booster’s final ground test before its scheduled test launch in 2018.
The SLS will be used to launch crews of up to four astronauts in the Orion spacecraft on missions to explore deep-space destinations.