OmegA second stage static fire test Feb. 27, 2020. Credit: Northrop Grumman

ORLANDO, Fla. — Northrop Grumman announced Feb. 27 it completed a static fire test of the second stage of its OmegA rocket.

The test, conducted at the company’s facilities in Promontory, Utah, moves OmegA a step closer to becoming certified to fly national security missions, the company said.

During the test, the second stage motor fired for full-duration for approximately 140 seconds, burning nearly 340,000 pounds of solid propellant to produce upwards of 785,000 pounds of thrust, Northrop Grumman said.

The second-stage test was initially scheduled for the fall of 2019 but was delayed following anomalies in the May 30 static fire test of the first stage. Near the end of that test, the engine nozzle came apart. Northrop Grumman said it needed more time to study the issue and figure out if design changes needed to be made before moving forward with the second stage test.

OmegA is one of the rockets being offered to the U.S. Space Force for the National Security Space Launch Phase 2 Launch Service Procurement. United Launch Alliance, SpaceX and Blue Origin also are competing for two contracts to be awarded this summer. OmegA is the only solid-fueled rocket in the competition.

In October 2018, the U.S. 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.

Northrop Grumman said OmegA is slated for its first certification flight in spring 2021. The company in December announced that Saturn agreed to launch one or two of its NationSat line of small geostationary communications satellites on OmegA’s maiden flight.

Sandra Erwin writes about military space programs, policy, technology and the industry that supports this sector. She has covered the military, the Pentagon, Congress and the defense industry for nearly two decades as editor of NDIA’s National Defense...