Orbital ATK renames its Next Generation Launcher OmegA


Please consider donating to Behind the Black, by giving either a one-time contribution or a regular subscription, as outlined in the tip jar to the right. Your support will allow me to continue covering science and culture as I have for the past twenty years, independent and free from any outside influence.

At a space conference yesterday Orbital ATK announced that OmegA is the new name for its proposed Next Generation Launcher, based on solid fuel technology and set for launch in 2021.

They also outlined the rocket’s proposed capabilities.

In its intermediate three-stage configuration, OmegA will be powerful: About 2 million pounds of thrust at liftoff with no side-strapped solid rocket boosters. But with the added flexibility of sporting up to six SRBs [solid rocket boosters], that number could more than double and enter heavy-lift territory with around five million pounds of thrust. To provide perspective, SpaceX’s much-vaunted Falcon Heavy rocket launched in February with slightly more than 5 million pounds of thrust.

They are initially focused on winning military contracts.

Share

2 comments

  • David

    Thrust is an interesting measure of a rocket’s capability. Other than the pad engineers that would rather see a lower number, who cares how much thrust it generates? What is the payload to orbit? It might be comparable, but given the tap-dance, my first reaction is that it must not be..

  • Dick Eagleson

    David,

    You are almost certainly correct. With all Block 5 cores, Falcon Heavy will generate 5.7 million lbf at liftoff. And the Kerolox propellant burned yields a significantly higher Isp than does the OmegA’s solid propellant. Plus, liquid-propellant engines yield a much smoother ride for payloads than do solids. The announcement that NGO-ATK plans to use AJR’s venerable RL-10 as its upper stage engine, though, means OmegA will at least have a high-Isp finish – albeit a quite expensive one.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *