USA SPACE PROGRAMMES ATK TEST NASA.jpg
Guests watching the second and final qualification motor (QM-2) test for the Space Launch System’s booster, at Orbital ATK Propulsion Systems test facilities in Promontory, Utah, USA, 28 June 2016. During the Space Launch System flight the boosters will provide more than 75 percent of the thrust needed to escape the gravitational pull of the Earth, the first step on NASA’s Journey to Mars.
Photograph: EPA/NASA/BILL INGALLS

NASA successfully tested a rocket booster Tuesday that it hopes will one day help carry astronauts to Mars.

The booster for what will be the world's most powerful rocket roared to life in a rush of noise and flames during the test at a facility in Promontory, Utah.

It was the last full-scale test for the booster before a scheduled unmanned test flight with NASA’s Orion spacecraft in late 2018.

Developing the boosters is a major part of NASA's "Journey to Mars" initiative, which seeks to send humans to an asteroid by 2025 and Mars in the 2030s.

The boosters will be used in NASA's Space Launch System, which consists of two boosters and four main engines built by an outside contractor. The boosters will provide more than 75 per cent of the thrust needed for spaceship to escape Earth’s gravity.

NASA scientists were researching Tuesday how the system will need to be configured to support more weight for more ambitious missions.

“Seeing this test today, and experiencing the sound and feel of approximately 3.6 million pounds of thrust, helps us appreciate the progress we’re making to advance human exploration,” said William Gerstenmaier, associate administrator for the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate.

NASA retired its space shuttle fleet in 2011 and has since focused its efforts on developing a long-distance craft for eventual human missions to Mars while encouraging the development of private spacecraft to service the International Space Station.

Related stories

SpaceX successfully lands its first reusable rocket

NASA prepared to launch first probe to an asteroid

Three astronauts arrive at International Space Station

NASA launches its first probe to an asteroid

Latest news

Thousands of Romanians revive anti-government protests

Thousands of Romanians turned out on Sunday to renew their demands for the government to step down amid accusations it is trying to protect corrupt politicians.

Francis, first pope to visit Anglicans in Rome, weighs S Sudan trip

Pope Francis became the first leader of the Catholic Church to visit the Anglican community in Rome on Sunday, where he said he was considering a trip to famine-struck South Sudan.

Ibrahimovic lifts Man United past Southampton in League Cup final

Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored an 87th-minute winner as Manchester United beat Southampton 3-2 in an exciting League Cup final on Sunday.

London screens Iranian director's film amid Oscars boycott

Thousands of people watched a free screeening of Iranian director Asghar Farhadi's film "The Salesman" in London on Sunday to coincide with the Oscars.

Real Madrid stage comeback to stay top; Messi scores in Barcelona win

Lionel Messi scored the winner as Barcelona beat Atletico Madrid 2-1 on Sunday to move top of the Spanish first division.

Dubrovnik Sun Gardens Hotel member of The Leading Hotels of the World

The Dubrovnik Sun Gardens Hotel has joined the Leading Hotels of the World, Ltd., a global hospitality consortium of more than 375 hotels and resorts in over 75 countries.

Biggest Bosnian Serb party ceases all contact with Izetbegovic over ICJ judjment review request

The main committee of the biggest Bosnian Serb party which makes up the ruling majority in Bosnia and Herzegovina decided o Sunday that its officials would cease all contact with member of the Bosnian President Bakir Izetbegovic until the crisis occurred following the submission of a request to the International Court of justice (ICJ) to review its ruling against Serbia is resolved.

Egypt court adjourns Morsi retrial over prison escape

An Egyptian court adjourned a case against former president Mohamed Morsi until March 29 on Sunday, during the first session of his retrial over orchestrating a prison escape during the 2011 uprising.

Hamas rejects Netanyahu's proposal for international forces in Gaza

The Islamic Hamas movement rejected on Sunday Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's proposal to send international forces to the Gaza Strip, the coastal enclave that Hamas has been ruling since 2007.

Deloitte: Growing optimism among CFOs

Chief financial officers (CFOs) in Croatia are more optimistic about growth and financial prospects in 2017 than they were last year, with most of them expecting increases in their company's revenue, a survey shows.

Russian agents main suspects for attempted coup in Montenegro

Russian citizens Eduard Shumakov and Vladimir Popoc, suspected of organising terrorist activities in Montenegro and forming a criminal organisation, are agents of Russia's Main Intelligence Agency (GRU), British, U.S. and other intelligence agencies confirmed, the Podgorica-based media reported on Sunday.

Six injured, 96 detained in Berlin fan clashes

Six people were treated in hospital and 96 detained in clashes in Berlin between fans of Hertha Berlin and Eintracht Frankfurt, police said Sunday.