NASA successfully live-fired the new booster for its Space Launcher System today. It's the largest, most powerful booster ever built, putting one hell of a scorch mark into the desert. And, yes, there's a video.
Today's test, which went off without a hitch, is the first of two tests necessary to qualify the booster for flight. The test today was designed to test the booster at the upper temperature range — 32C. The second test, which will happen some time in 2016, will be conducted at 4C, and between the two the rocket scientists will have enough data to run the numbers for any given temperature situation.
The booster will form an integral part of the system that will hopefully take the Orion spacecraft to the further reaches of our solar system, including an asteroid and Mars. But, hey, if it can burn some small parts of Utah before going into outer space, all the better. [NASA]