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Northrop Grumman successfully test solid rocket booster for ULA’s Vulcan

Capitalism in space: Northrop Grumman today announced that it has successfully test fired the strap-on solid rocket booster, qualifying it for flight, for use on ULA’s new Vulcan rocket.

In the Jan. 21 static test, the motor fired for approximately 90 seconds, producing nearly 449,000 pounds of thrust to validate the performance capability of the motor, the company said. The firing also verified the motor’s internal insulation, propellant grain ballistics and nozzle in high temperatures.

If all goes right Vulcan will make its inaugural flight later this year.

Pioneer cover

From the press release: From the moment he is handed a possibility of making the first alien contact, Saunders Maxwell decides he will do it, even if doing so takes him through hell and back.

Unfortunately, that is exactly where that journey takes him.

The vision that Zimmerman paints of vibrant human colonies on the Moon, Mars, the asteroids, and beyond, indomitably fighting the harsh lifeless environment of space to build new societies, captures perfectly the emerging space race we see today.

He also captures in Pioneer the heart of the human spirit, willing to push forward no matter the odds, no matter the cost. It is that spirit that will make the exploration of the heavens possible, forever, into the never-ending future.

Available everywhere for $3.99 (before discount) at amazon, Barnes & Noble, all ebook vendors, or direct from the ebook publisher, ebookit. And if you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.


  • pawn

    I thought Vulcan was canceled? I know NG shut down a bunch of development work after a Stop Work from the AF. Maybe this is the AF giving them some crumbs.

    The Vulcan was a disaster in every phase of it’s existence.

  • pawn: I don’t think you are referring to the Vulcan rocket that ULA is developing. While there are aspects of Vulcan’s design that I think are a mistake, it has so far not been “a disaster.”

  • David Eastman

    It was Omega that was cancelled. And it probably should have been, there is no need for a rocket of that class, specifically tailored to govt launches, anymore.

  • Jay

    I thought the same thing a while back on a Vulcan article that was posted in August:

    You are probably thinking of the Liberty or OmegA SRB rockets that were cancelled. Vulcan will use SRBs, but it is still waiting for the BE-4 engines.

  • Jay

    David beat me to the post!

  • pawn

    You folks are correct. I had a major brain fart and confused the Omega with the Vulcan.

    The Omega was doomed for a variety of reasons. One of them I always brought to the table was that there was no way the AF was going to pay to keep the Omega launch infrastructure in place if the SLS was canceled.

    Is anybody talking about what could possibly happen to KSC when they finally pull the plug on their white elephant? I know the tourism is big but you only need so many bus drivers.

  • pawn: KSC is doing quite well, and that is without SLS, which remember still has not launched. The many private launch companies are bringing the cape far more business than it ever saw when NASA was its only launch customer.

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