GSTC 2023

Northrop Grumman and Firefly Aerospace to develop Antares upgrade

The Antares rocket for Orbital Science’s A-ONE inaugural mission is hoisted inside Wallops’ Horizontal Integration Facility for placement on its transporter. Credit: NASA

Edinburgh / Chandler, 9 August 2022. – Northrop Grumman and end-to-end space transportation company Firefly Aerospace, are collaborating to provide an American-built first-stage upgrade for the Antares rocket as well as a new medium launch vehicle to serve commercial, civil and national security space launch markets, Northrop Grumman said.

The duo will first develop Antares 330, a fully domestic version of Northrop’s Antares rocket, to serve Cygnus space station commercial resupply missions. This will be followed by the advancement of a new medium class launch vehicle. Northrop said it has been working on a combined strategy and technical development plan with Firefly to meet current and future launch requirements.

Firefly’s propulsion technology uses the same propellants as the current Antares rocket. Antares 330 is planned to utilize seven Miranda engines by Firefly while also leveraging its composites technology for the first stage. Northrop will provide the avionics and software, upper-stage structures and the Castor 30XL motor. The company will also handle vehicle integration and launch pad operations. 

The new stage will increase the rocket’s mass to orbit capability, enabling Northrop to continue to support current and future missions.

Check Also

#SpaceWatchGL Opinion: Do Space Forces Really Contravene International Space Law?

On the heels of Israel’s purported announcement of the development of its “space administration” Space Force, one cannot help but wonder if the emergence of Space Forces is yet another affront to the provisions of the legal framework that governs outer space.