Northrop Grumman dicit:
Northrop Grumman Corporation conducted its second ground test of a 63-inch diameter Graphite Epoxy Motor (GEM 63) in Promontory, Utah. The company developed this new side-mounted rocket motor to add power to the United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V launch vehicle.
The maximum thrust of the GEM 63 is 373,000 pounds or roughly the equivalent of five B-2 Spirit bombers. Up to five GEM 63 motors can support a single Atlas V launch.
The GEM 63 team developed the motor under a cooperative development program with ULA. Northrop Grumman has been supplying solid propulsion motors for a variety of launch vehicles since 1964 and is ULA’s largest legacy supplier of solid propulsion. Northrop Grumman’s expertise in solid rocket boosters combined with ULA’s history of reliability results in a strong partnership that guarantees assured access to space for national security.
The first ground test, conducted in September 2018, qualified the motor for use as a strap-on booster for the Atlas V. This second test satisfies additional requirements for certification by the U.S. Air Force. The first launch using GEM 63 motors will take place in 2020.
In addition to the GEM 63 motor, Northrop ...