To get to the top, sometimes you need to break a few nozzle plugs.
This slow motion footage is a test firing of NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) booster, which took place back in June, and yielded plenty of interesting information for NASA scientists in addition to some trippy footage for us.
The particles that you see being blown apart as the rocket fires are pieces of a nozzle plug, one of the upgraded features on this rocket. The nozzle plug is a dense foam, designed to keep dust, moisture and heat out of the rocket before it launches, preventing the booster fuel from igniting prematurely. Bits of the foam were found up to 2,000 feet away from the test site.
NASA announced their intention to build the SLS in 2011 as a way of launching human exploration into deep space. But the SLS has been plagued by budget and timing issues and safety concerns have been raised about both the rocket and the Orion capsule.
The first uncrewed test flight of the SLS and the Orion capsule is set for 2018.