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Northrop Omega booster entry for EELV

fredymac

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Can't find a thread for the Northrop Omega booster entry for EELV so I'll post this here.

They just did a static fire test but the nozzle failed at around the 36:57 mark (~2 minutes into burn).


Loop of nozzle failure.

 

TomS

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Can't find a thread for the Northrop Omega booster entry for EELV so I'll post this here.

They just did a static fire test but the nozzle failed at around the 36:57 mark (~2 minutes into burn).


Loop of nozzle failure.

How about starting a new thread instead of putting non-SpaceX content in a SpaceX thread?

I'll ask a moderator to move this to its own thread.
 

TomS

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Thanks for the new thread.

Hard to say how serious this event is. NG seems to be downplaying it, obviously, and in the press confernce they say it might not have prevented a successful flight. It was pretty late in the burn and I'm wondering if the failure comes after their nominal end of flight/stage separation event. Castor 600 2-segment is supposed to burn for 114 seconds, 4-segment for 133 seconds, so this is right near the end of the planned burn in any case. Obviously not what they want to happen, but hopefully an easy fix.
 

fredymac

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My personal take on the Omega is that it is a contrived pretender for the EELV2 contract and won't continue beyond down select as I doubt Northrop will privately fund it for the commercial launch market. GBSD is the best opportunity Northrop has to find an alternative business base to replace Shuttle/SLS large solid motor production and Omega helps bridge the gap.

I would have preferred another way to sustain the industrial base. Giving Northrop a contract to use the new Adranos solid rocket fuel to prove out its performance claims over a variety of motor sizes might have resulted in a genuine advancement.

 

Flyaway

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Scott Manley’s news report on the test as well as the OmegA launcher.

 

Flyaway

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My personal take on the Omega is that it is a contrived pretender for the EELV2 contract and won't continue beyond down select as I doubt Northrop will privately fund it for the commercial launch market. GBSD is the best opportunity Northrop has to find an alternative business base to replace Shuttle/SLS large solid motor production and Omega helps bridge the gap.

I would have preferred another way to sustain the industrial base. Giving Northrop a contract to use the new Adranos solid rocket fuel to prove out its performance claims over a variety of motor sizes might have resulted in a genuine advancement.

You’d be wrong on your assumption.
NG very much know what they are doing, such as its ability to survive on a very low flight rate, coupled with proven technology and price. Plus it’s very much designed for the AF & not so much commercial give it as good as chance as anyone in the down select.
 

fredymac

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You’d be wrong on your assumption.
NG very much know what they are doing, such as its ability to survive on a very low flight rate, coupled with proven technology and price. Plus it’s very much designed for the AF & not so much commercial give it as good as chance as anyone in the down select.

Surviving on low flight rates through prices that would be unacceptable on the commercial market is not a hallmark of business expertise. "Designed for the Air Force" is a reminder of the stagnant and cost prohibitive launch situation prior to the arrival of Spacex.

I haven't found any information on Omega pricing but that itself is a clue that they aren't going to be cost competitive. An example of a price conscious launcher based on all expendable components would be Relativity Space where 3D printing is employed to drastically reduce labor costs.

Spacex and Blue Origin will offer the lowest launch costs by significant margins. By virtue of commercial market launch business, they will also offer faster responsiveness in having boosters available on short notice. "Designed for the Air Force" will have to ignore both of these factors for Northrop to win as well as turning away from the only path that affords a transformational expansion in space operations (ie, low launch cost).
 

Flyaway

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OmegA rocket will launch up to two NationSats for Saturn Satellite Networks on certification flight for the US Air Force NSSL program in spring 2021

Space • OmegA • Rocket December 12, 2019

DULLES, Va. – Dec. 12, 2019 – Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) announced that Saturn Satellite Networks has selected the OmegA space launch vehicle to launch up to two satellites on the rocket’s inaugural flight scheduled for spring 2021. OmegA will launch from Kennedy Space Center’s Pad 39B and insert the SSN satellites into a geosynchronous transfer orbit.

“The OmegA rocket expands Northrop Grumman’s launch capabilities beyond our small and medium class rockets, which have successfully launched nearly 80 missions,” said Scott Lehr, vice president and general manager, flight systems, Northrop Grumman. “Expanding the company’s launch capabilities to the intermediate/heavy class with OmegA complements our national security satellite portfolio and enables us to better support our customers.”

Jim Simpson, CEO of Saturn, said, “We are excited to launch Saturn’s NationSat on Northrop Grumman’s OmegA launch vehicle’s inaugural mission. OmegA’s performance, payload accommodations, and rigorous certification program assures us it is a great fit for NationSats and our customers.”

Last October, the U.S. Air Force awarded Northrop Grumman a $792 million Launch Services Agreement to complete detailed design and verification of the OmegA launch vehicle and launch sites.

“The first flight of OmegA is a key step in our certification process for the U.S. Air Force National Security Space Launch program,” said Charlie Precourt, vice president, propulsion systems, Northrop Grumman. “Having Saturn’s NationSat on board for this mission further demonstrates the versatility of OmegA to serve other markets including commercial and civil government.”
Precourt continued, “Our customer’s mission comes first, whether OmegA is launching a commercial satellite or a national security payload. At the end of the day, we deliver the customer’s spacecraft where it needs to go.”

“Northrop Grumman designed OmegA to use the most reliable propulsion available—solid propulsion for the boost stages and flight proven RL10 engines for the upper stage—to ensure exceptional mission assurance for our customers,” Precourt added. “Northrop Grumman’s technical expertise is both broad and deep, and we bring unmatched experience, stability and a strong customer focus to every partnership.”

Northrop Grumman has a distinguished heritage in space launch. In 1990, the company developed Pegasus™, the world’s first privately developed space launch system. The company’s Minotaur launch vehicle has achieved 100 percent success on its 18 space missions and nine suborbital missions. Northrop Grumman’s AntaresTM rocket has launched more than 70,000 pounds of food, equipment and supplies to the astronauts aboard the International Space Station.

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 news.northropgrumman.com and follow us on Twitter, @NGCNews, for more information.
 

flanker

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Essentially old news but;

https://spaceflightnow.com/2020/09/...ram-after-losing-military-launch-competition/

The Pentagon awarded Northrop Grumman a $792 million contract in 2018 to continue development of the OmegA rocket, on top of an investment of more than $300 million in the program by Northrop Grumman and the Air Force in preceding years.
So a cool 1.2 billion completely wasted, just so that an empty suit could say this;

“We look forward to continuing to play a key role in National Security Space Launch missions and leveraging our OmegA investments in other activities across our business.”
Truly astonishing and mindboggling. Nothing of value created whatsoever but i bet they will be really good at LeVErAgiNg dat sweet sweet 1.2 billion cash and development into a new ICBM. Oh wait, they got 13.3 billion for that;

 

marauder2048

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Essentially old news but;

https://spaceflightnow.com/2020/09/...ram-after-losing-military-launch-competition/

The Pentagon awarded Northrop Grumman a $792 million contract in 2018 to continue development of the OmegA rocket, on top of an investment of more than $300 million in the program by Northrop Grumman and the Air Force in preceding years.
So a cool 1.2 billion completely wasted, just so that an empty suit could say this;

“We look forward to continuing to play a key role in National Security Space Launch missions and leveraging our OmegA investments in other activities across our business.”
Truly astonishing and mindboggling. Nothing of value created whatsoever but i bet they will be really good at LeVErAgiNg dat sweet sweet 1.2 billion cash and development into a new ICBM. Oh wait, they got 13.3 billion for that;

A healthy SRM industrial base is worth its weight in gold.
 

flanker

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Right, and doing a competition with 2 obvious winners with 4 bidders and wasting billions on that is totally sane. There is absolutely nothing "healthy" about wasting 1.2 billion on OmegA, it is asinine and sick.

Remember when a certain party whined about a 500 million loan from government to a certain EV company? (a program started under the sitting president of the same certain party) A loan that was paid back in full, before due time. Where are they now, crickets and "supporting industrial base by throwing cash at them for nothing". Pepperidge farm remembers.
 

marauder2048

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Right, and doing a competition with 2 obvious winners with 4 bidders and wasting billions on that is totally sane. There is absolutely nothing "healthy" about wasting 1.2 billion on OmegA, it is asinine and sick.
There's really no commercial market for large solids. So the primary and pretty much only customer has to do something.
And that something is for systems of existential importance to the nation.
 

bobbymike

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Essentially old news but;

https://spaceflightnow.com/2020/09/...ram-after-losing-military-launch-competition/

The Pentagon awarded Northrop Grumman a $792 million contract in 2018 to continue development of the OmegA rocket, on top of an investment of more than $300 million in the program by Northrop Grumman and the Air Force in preceding years.
So a cool 1.2 billion completely wasted, just so that an empty suit could say this;

“We look forward to continuing to play a key role in National Security Space Launch missions and leveraging our OmegA investments in other activities across our business.”
Truly astonishing and mindboggling. Nothing of value created whatsoever but i bet they will be really good at LeVErAgiNg dat sweet sweet 1.2 billion cash and development into a new ICBM. Oh wait, they got 13.3 billion for that;

A healthy SRM industrial base is worth its weight in gold.
Would make a really nice heavy lift CPGS missile
 

fredymac

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I support the idea of sustaining the industrial base where defense/government is the only customer but the choice of the EELV program as a vehicle to do this was wasteful. With EELV now awarded to Spacex/ULA, Northrop is dropping the Omega since it was never competitive on its own merit. If Northrop had been given multiple contracts to develop advanced motors or test new propellants, some of these could have been used in future missile programs.

Northrop Grumman ends OmegA rocket program
https://spaceflightnow.com/2020/09/...ram-after-losing-military-launch-competition/

Northrop Grumman says it will not continue development of the OmegA rocket after the U.S. Space Force last month picked United Launch Alliance and SpaceX as the military’s two top launch contractors over the next seven years.
 

marauder2048

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if Northrop had been given multiple contracts to develop advanced motors or test new propellants, some of these could have been used in future missile programs.
Except, I doubt the Air Force or the Navy want to take any risks with new propellants or motors beyond
design for manufacturability and durability. The small strategic propulsion contracts the Air Force and Navy
can fund out of RDT&E isn't really enough.
 

sferrin

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A healthy SRM industrial base is worth its weight in gold.
Now we just need to get one.
Between PrSM, AARGM-ER, SM-6 Blk IB, LRHW/ARRW and GBSD it's a hell of lot better off than it was.
I'm talking about players. Boeing refused to compete on GBSD because they'd have had to buy NG motors. Why couldn't they buy them from Aerojet? I worry how long it will be before we only have one solid motor manufacturer.
 

marauder2048

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A healthy SRM industrial base is worth its weight in gold.
Now we just need to get one.
Between PrSM, AARGM-ER, SM-6 Blk IB, LRHW/ARRW and GBSD it's a hell of lot better off than it was.
I'm talking about players. Boeing refused to compete on GBSD because they'd have had to buy NG motors. Why couldn't they buy them from Aerojet? I worry how long it will be before we only have one solid motor manufacturer.
Well it is just Boeing's claim as to why they didn't bid. For NG, Boeing would have to show that the
FTC's non-discriminatory pricing req is toothless. AFAIK, they couldn't show that.

They could buy from Aerojet; my guess is that Aerojet just wasn't cost competitive or
given that Aerojet was relocating large solids production to Alabama at the time, not schedule competitive.

ATK's SRMs displaced Aerojet's on ULA for cost reasons, IIUC.
 
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