Northrop Grumman Awarded $792 Million Launch Services Agreement by U.S. Air Force

OmegA rocket (Credit: Orbital ATK)

OmegA rocket on schedule to provide first launch in 2021

DULLES, Va. – Oct 10, 2018 – Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) received a Launch Services Agreement (LSA) worth approximately $792 million of government investment from the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center to continue development of its OmegATM rocket for the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) program. The agreement runs through 2024 and includes certification flights of OmegA’s intermediate variant in 2021 and its heavy variant in 2024.

OmegA will provide intermediate – to heavy-class launch services for the Department of Defense, civil government and commercial customers. With major propulsion and structural elements of OmegA already complete, Northrop Grumman is on schedule to complete propulsion system ground tests in 2019 and conduct its first launch in 2021.

“We are pleased to receive this follow-on award from the Air Force,” said Scott Lehr, president, flight systems, Northrop Grumman. “Our new OmegA rocket leverages technologies, capabilities and flight experience gained from decades of successful rocket launches, making it an affordable and reliable choice for national security missions.”

Over the last three years, Northrop Grumman and the U.S. Air Force have together invested more than $300 million in developing the OmegA rocket.

The rocket configuration consists of first and second solid rocket stages and strap-on solid boosters manufactured by Northrop Grumman, and a cryogenic liquid upper stage powered by Aerojet Rocketdyne’s RL10C engine.

After initial flights of its intermediate configuration in 2021, OmegA will be certified for operational EELV missions starting in 2022 with initial heavy configuration flights beginning in 2024.

Northrop Grumman has a long history of launching critical payloads for the Department of Defense, NASA and other customers with the company’s Pegasus®, Minotaur and AntaresTM launch vehicles as well as a wide array of strategic missile interceptors and targets in support of critical national security launch programs.

The company’s 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 hundreds of jobs across the country in its supply chain.

Northrop Grumman is a leading global security company providing innovative systems, products and solutions in autonomous systems, cyber, C4ISR, space, strike, and logistics and modernization to customers worldwide. Please visit and follow us on Twitter, @NGCNews, for more information.

  • Mr Snarky Answer

    What a waste.

  • Jeff Smith

    Congrats to O-ATK (now NGIS). Good luck with the new rocket.

  • therealdmt

    The Air Force wants large solids to continue so that an industrial capacity will be in place for when a new generation of ICBMs will be developed.

    Unfortunately, it seems our national space launch infrastructure has to shoulder that burden.

    On the plus side, it makes SLS less essential for fulfilling that role

  • SamuelRoman13

    Looks like SpaceX and ULA Russian-Atlas has all of the launches for a long time.

  • Robert G. Oler

    we will need them soon, as must be obvious the Russian space program is falling apart

  • duheagle

    That’s the usual story. But that particular rationale has worn a bit thin. The biggest solid fuel ICBM motors the U.S. ever fielded were a small fraction the size of what OmegA will be using in its first and second stages. This is just a ploy to keep a technology that the U.S. does not need for defense purposes going in case – as even NGIS must see pretty clearly by now – SLS dies ignominiously a few years hence.

  • duheagle

    What? The only thing we currently depend upon the Russian space program for is crew transport to and from ISS. Omega will never be doing any of that. After today’s little misadventure, one sincerely hopes the Russians won’t be doing it anymore either – at least for U.S. and other non-Russian astronauts.

  • Robert G. Oler

    we depend on the Russians for reboost

  • duheagle

    I seem to recall that there are planned tests of one, and perhaps more than one, of the new CC and CRS vehicles in the reboost role. But even if that never happens, Omega isn’t going to be taking either crew or supplies to ISS so my point still stands. From an ISS and manned spaceflight standpoint, NGIS’s development of OmegA is going to be an irrelevancy.

    That is also true anent the ongoing implosion of the Russian space program/industry. That process seems now to have accelerated to such a degree that we’re pretty much going to have to deal with it using strictly what we’ve got on-hand now. Whatever the three USAF contract awardees just announced are able to put on-line by the early 2020’s simply isn’t going to have any effect on the next few years of Russian disintegration or be any help in compensating for it in the interim.

  • Robert G. Oler

    OSC’s resupply has done limited reboost experiments

  • publiusr

    My guess is that it is the amount produced. The USAF closes ranks. LV diversity keeps a lot of tribal knowledge alive. Oh well. The new space force needs to fund BFR, as I see it.