How to Recover a Solid Rocket Booster

NASA shot some very unique high-definition footage of teams recovering the space shuttle’s solid rocket booster segments, including under-water shots of divers working on the recovery in the Atlantic Ocean. Seeing the divers and other recovery team members around the boosters helps give a sense of scale of how big these SRBs are. This is from shuttle Discovery’s final mission, STS-133, and comes complete with underwater breathing sounds!

The video also includes HD video footage from the recovery ships, showing how the teams keep track of and locate the boosters, as well as time-lapse footage of recovery efforts on the Freedom Star ship.

The footage was captured with a Panasonic HPX 3700 high-definition, cinema-style camera with 1080 progressive scanning at 24 frames per second.

NASA says that after the boosters are pulled from the ocean, “they are returned to Hangar AF at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. After they are processed, the boosters are transported to Utah, where they are refurbished and stored, if necessary.” So, these particular boosters will not likely be refurbished.

Thrust of both boosters is equal to somewhere between 5.3 to 6.6 million pounds 144 million pounds of thrust to get the shuttles off the ground.

4 Replies to “How to Recover a Solid Rocket Booster”

  1. I’ll bet the crew(s) have some interesting stories! The one that got away?
    I’ll note the gray sludge being pumped at 7:50 NASTY residuals being dumped?

  2. 144 million pounds of thrust? Each SRB puts out about 2.6 million pounds of thrust, so it would take about 55 of them to reach that level of thrust.

    1. Thanks — was going by the info in a press release NASA put out today, which was obviously wrong. This NASA webpage says 5.3 million lbs for the two SRBs together :, while someone who works at NASA told me that her info says 3.3 million lbs each at sea level (6.6 together). See this link for the Shuttle Crew Operations Manual:

      1. Power output of SRB’s is 144 million Horsepower.This is being quoted by a few websites giving links to the HD footage of STS 133’s SRB recovery.

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