Northrop Grumman Corporation successfully conducted a full-scale static fire test of the first stage of its new OmegATM rocket in Promontory, Utah on May 30.
This milestone keeps OmegA on track to perform its first launch in 2021 and begin operational launches of national security payloads in 2022.
“The OmegA rocket is a top priority and our team is committed to provide the U.S. Air Force with assured access to space for our nation’s most critical payloads,” said Scott Lehr, vice president and general manager, flight systems, Northrop Grumman. “We committed to test the first stage of OmegA in spring 2019, and that’s exactly what we’ve done.”
During the test, the first stage motor fired for approximately 122 seconds, producing more than two million pounds of maximum thrust—roughly the equivalent to that of eight-and-a-half jumbo jets. The test verified the performance of the motor’s ballistics, insulation and joints as well as control of the nozzle position.
Last October, the U.S. Air Force awarded Northrop Grumman a $792 million contract to complete detailed design and verification of OmegA and launch sites. The test verified performance of the first stage solid rocket motor for the intermediate version of OmegA.
The 2015 National Defense Authorization Act specified that a domestic next-generation rocket propulsion system “shall be developed by not later than 2019.” With today’s successful test fire, Northrop Grumman demonstrated the company is on track to meet this Congressionally-mandated schedule.
“Congratulations to the entire team on today’s successful test,” said Kent Rominger, OmegA vice president, Northrop Grumman. “OmegA’s design using flight-proven hardware enables our team to meet our milestones and provide an affordable launch system that meets our customer’s requirements and timeline.”
A full-scale static fire test of OmegA’s second stage is planned for this fall.
OmegA’s design leverages flight proven technologies from Northrop Grumman’s Pegasus, Minotaur and Antares rockets as well as the company’s interceptors, targets and strategic rockets. Northrop Grumman has conducted nearly 80 successful space launch missions and has decades of experience launching critical payloads for the U.S. Department of Defense, civil and commercial customers.
The company’s vehicle development team is working on the program in Arizona, Utah, Mississippi and Louisiana, with launch integration and operations planned at Kennedy Space Center in Florida, and Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The program will also support thousands of jobs across the country in its supply chain.