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Northrop Grumman on track for 2021 OmegA rocket launch certification

Stephen Kuper

Northrop Grumman successfully conducted a full-scale static fire test of the second stage of its OmegA rocket. Developed to support the US Space Force’s National Security Space Launch program, the OmegA Launch System remains on track for its first certification flight in spring 2021.

Northrop Grumman on track for 2021 OmegA rocket launch certification
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During the test, the second stage motor fired for full-duration, approximately 140 seconds, burning nearly 340,000 pounds of solid propellant to produce upwards of 785,000 pounds of thrust.

The test verified the motor’s ballistics and thermal performance as well as steering control and performance in a cold-conditioned environment. The test team collected more than 500 channels of data to aid in verifying the motor. 

Charlie Precourt, vice president, propulsion systems at Northrop Grumman, explained, "Northrop Grumman designed OmegA to use the most reliable propulsion available to ensure exceptional mission assurance for our customers."

In October 2018, the US Air Force awarded Northrop Grumman a $792 million launch services agreement to complete detailed design and verification of the OmegA space launch vehicle and launch sites.

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Today’s cold test, in conjunction with the successful hot static fire in May 2019, subjected OmegA’s motors to the most extreme propellant temperatures the rocket will experience during storage, transport, stacking and launch.

"Today’s firing is a significant accomplishment that demonstrates a domestic solution for the RD-180 rocket engine replacement," Precourt added. 

Northrop Grumman has leveraged its flight proven technologies and extensive experience launching critical payloads in the development of the OmegA launch system. The rocket was designed to accommodate national security payloads while also serving the civil and commercial markets.

In preparation for OmegA’s inaugural flight, Northrop Grumman now occupies High Bay 2 as the first commercial tenant in NASA’s historic Vehicle Assembly Building at Kennedy Space Center.

Construction crews are currently modifying Mobile Launch Platform-3 to serve as OmegA’s assembly and launch platform at Pad 39B.

Northrop Grumman solves the toughest problems in space, aeronautics, defence and cyber space to meet the ever evolving needs of customers worldwide.

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