The U.S. Air Force and Orbital ATK (NYSE: OA) successfully conducted a ground level static fire test of the Medium-Class Stage III (MCS-III) solid rocket motor on November 5. This test was a demonstration of advanced technologies being studied for use in the forthcoming Air Force Ground-Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD) system.

“The new advanced technologies demonstrated are important stepping stones for the future GBSD program,” said Charlie Precourt, vice president and general manager of Orbital ATK’s Propulsion Systems Division. “This test of new propulsion technologies is a significant achievement for our company and the Air Force.”

Orbital ATK developed the high-performance upper stage motor for the MCS-III program. The objectives of the static fire test were to demonstrate an advanced strategic grade propellant, validate feasibility of motor thrust reversal/thrust termination system in a graphite epoxy case, and demonstrate a performance enhancing, vectorable nozzle with electro-mechanical thrust vector control. Preliminary test results indicate the motor performed within predictions.

The Air Force plans to replace Minuteman III propulsion elements with a modern propulsion system as part of the GBSD program. The Air Force is preparing for the upcoming development work by maturing and demonstrating available technologies in a medium-class solid rocket motor, applicable to the GBSD propulsion systems.

Orbital ATK has a successful history of designing, fabricating, integrating, testing and delivering more than 3,800 motors in direct support of Department of Defense missions. Orbital ATK’s medium-class stage motors could support multiple missions such as GBSD, Conventional Strike Missile and Operationally Responsive Space.

The MCS-III program, which is managed by the Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center at Hill Air Force Base in Utah, is conducted under the Intercontinental Ballistic Missile Demonstration/Validation Propulsion Application Program funding to support the demonstration of technologies applicable to future strategic programs.

About Orbital ATK

Orbital ATK is a global leader in aerospace and defense technologies. The company designs, builds and delivers space, defense and aviation systems for customers around the world, both as a prime contractor and merchant supplier. Its main products include launch vehicles and related propulsion systems; missile products, subsystems and defense electronics; precision weapons, armament systems and ammunition; satellites and associated space components and services; and advanced aerospace structures. Headquartered in Dulles, Virginia, Orbital ATK employs approximately 12,000 people in 18 states across the U.S. and in several international locations. For more information, visit