Northrop Grumman Corp., a global aerospace and defense technology company, has recently completed the static fire test of a new OmegA rocket’s second stage in Utah.
The static fire test was conducted at the Promontory propulsion facility, by mounting the rocket on a horizontal test stand. While the first stage static test was prepared as a “hot test” to prepare for the climate and timing for the actual launch of the new OmegA rocket, the second stage test was a “cold” test.
The Castor 300 solid-fuel motor was fired for a duration of approximately 139 seconds, similar to that of the previous Castor 600 first stage firing in May 2019. Its composite-wound case is also central to OmegA’s design.
The U.S. Air Force granted a launch services agreement of $792 million to Northrop to enhance the services and advance the development of the rockets through the initial flights of its heavy and intermediate configurations.
Charlie Precourt, a former NASA astronaut and Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems’ general manager and VP of propulsion systems division, has commented on the outstanding duration of fire test and the ideal preliminary conditions. Mr. Precourt believes that the recent OmegA test highlights the company’s robust performance capabilities, allowing it to cater to the Air Force demand for various spaceflight mission with its modular variants on configurations.
In the intermediate configuration of OmegA, the Castor 600 was adopted at the first stage. It then used Castor 1200 in its more heavy and powerful variants. Both versions have deployed Castor 300, Northrop Grumman’s GEM strap-on rocket boosters & liquid-fuel upper stage as the second stage. With the successful completion of the two stages, the company is set to launch OmegA rocket from Kennedy Space Center, which is NASA’s primary launch center in Florida, in spring 2021.
The liquid-fuel upper stage of OmegA is currently undergoing tests at New Orleans’ Michoud Assembly Facility. After the tests, the rocket will eventually be shifted to Glenn Research Center’s Plum Brook Station for its own test fires in a vacuum chamber.