In this historical photo from the U.S. space agency, the DM-2 (Demonstration Motor) for the Solid Rocket Booster (SRB) is undergoing static test firing at the testing ground of Thiokol Corporation near Brigham City, Utah in 1978. As one of the major components of the Space Shuttle, SRBs provide most of the power, their combined thrust of some 5.8 million pounds, for the first two minutes of flight.
The SRBs take the Space Shuttle to an altitude of 28 miles and a speed of 3,094 miles per hour before they separate and fall back into the ocean to be retrieved, refurbished, and prepared for another flight. MSFC has the management responsibilities with Thiokol Corporation as the prime contractor.
Each weekday, SPACE.com looks back at the history of spaceflight through photos (archive).