Orbital ATK has introduced a new rocket the company built for the U.S. Air Force’s Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle program at the 34th Space Symposium in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
The OmegA rocket is Orbital ATK’s Next Generation Launch System that is set for ground tests in 2019 and initial launch in 2021, the company said Monday.
OmegA is a three-stage rocket that will come in intermediate and heavy configurations to provide launch services for defense, civil agencies and commercial clients in support of national security missions.
The rocket runs on the Aerojet Rocketdyne-built RL10C upper-stage propulsion engine and has a cryogenic liquid upper stage, strap-on solid boosters and first and second solid rocket stages.
The Air Force and Orbital ATK have made a combined investment of at least $250 million in the OmegA rocket development program in the past three years.
Orbital ATK expects to continue development and verification work on OmegA once the service awards the Launch Services Agreements by the middle of this year.
The company said it anticipates performing the maiden flight of the rocket’s intermediate version in 2021 and securing certification in 2022 to launch the vehicle for EELV missions, followed by initial flights of the vehicle’s heavy configuration by 2024.
The Dulles, Virginia-based aerospace and defense company employs approximately 500 workers to support development work on the OmegA rocket with plans to add another 500 individuals in the next 18 months as the firm approaches the launch integration and operational phase.