Northrop said Thursday it developed the 63-inch GEM 63 rocket engine with ULA through a cooperative development program and tested the technology at a company facility in Promontory, Utah.
“This test is an important step in the development of these new boosters for the Atlas V launch vehicle," said Tory Bruno, president and CEO of ULA.
The Lockheed Martin-Boeing joint venture intends to fly the motor on Atlas V before integrating the hardware on the new Vulcan Centaur rocket for a scheduled 2021 launch.
GEM 63 will work to produce a maximum thrust of 370K pounds and has met additional U.S. Air Force certification requirements in the latest test.
Northrop validated the motor as a strap-on booster for Atlas V during the first ground test in September last year and said the initial GEM 63 launch will occur next year.