Orbital ATK has conducted a structural acceptance test on a motor composite case built to support the company’s Next Generation Launch family of space launch vehicles.
The company said Tuesday the test demonstrated the structural loads’ capacity to generate more than 110 percent of the anticipated maximum motor operating pressure as well as operational, flight and pre-launch line loads.
The NGL motor case segment will be used for an inert solid rocket propellant in the first half of 2018 then transported to a launch site for additional ground operations assessments.
Scott Lehr, president of Orbital ATK’s flight systems group, said NGL is one of the company’s top growth projects and the recent milestone demonstrates Orbital ATK’s progress towards the technology’s creation.
The company’s NGL rocket family will be built to support the launch of national security payloads, science and commercial satellites that cannot be handled by existing space launch vehicles such as the Pegasus, Minotaur, Antares.
Orbital ATK noted the next part of the program will start after the U.S. Air Force awards a Launch Services Agreement which would require the delivery of full vehicle and launch site development services.