Orbital ATK plans to perform two certification flights for its Next Generation Launcher rocket in early 2021 from a launch site at Kennedy Space Center in Florida with plans to conduct operational flights later that year, NASASpaceflight.com reported Friday.
The company has completed the initial two phases of the rocket propulsion system development effort and now expects the Launch Service Agreement, or Phase 3, to be awarded by the end of July to facilitate development work on NGL.
NGL is composed of a two-segment solid rocket booster and an upper stage that runs on liquid oxygen/liquid hydrogen propellants.
“We’re currently in the process of going through verification efforts on the case design. Initial testing of a single segment is done and we’re in the process of going through load testing,” Mike Laidley, vice president of space launch programs at Orbital ATK, told the publication.
Laidley said the company plans to carry out static fire tests on the two rocket motors, C300 and C600, in 2019.
Orbital ATK plans to launch NGL’s intermediate configuration in 2021 and then unveil the rocket’s heavy variant three years after the vehicle’s initial introduction, the report added.