- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Never-before-seen detail of the world’s most-powerful rocket has been captured by NASA.

A recent test of the Qualification Motor 2 (QM-2) booster in Promontory, Utah, was captured by the space agency’s new High Dynamic Range Stereo X camera (HiDyRS-X). The event, which thousands turned out to see on Aug. 5, provided scientists with a treasure trove of data.

“I was amazed to see the ground support mirror bracket tumbling and the vortices shedding in the plume,” said Howard Conyers, a structural dynamist at NASA’s Stennis Space Center, the agency reported. “I was able to clearly see the exhaust plume, nozzle and the nozzle fabric go through its gimbaling patterns, which is an expected condition, but usually unobservable in slow motion or normal playback rates.”

The new camera works by recording multiple, slow-motion video exposures at once. HiDyRS-X then combines all the images into a high dynamic range video. The end result is perfect exposure for scientists who study rocket plumes.

Video of the event was uploaded to YouTube shortly afterward.

The event served as the QM-2 booster’s final trial before a test launch in 2018. Power generated from the rocket was so fierce that the ground shook, and a power cable was dislodged.

“Failure during testing of the camera is the opportunity to get smarter,” Mr. Conyers said of the unanticipated power outage. “Without failure, technology and innovation is not possible.”

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