Press Release

Northrop Grumman Achieves Significant Milestone in Missile Defense Agency’s Liquid Booster Development Program

By SpaceRef Editor
June 18, 2003
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Northrop Grumman Corporation, the Missile
Defense Agency’s (MDA) contractor for the Liquid Booster
target program, has achieved a significant milestone in
the program by successfully initiating hot-fire testing
of a hydrogen peroxide-based engine at the company’s Capistrano
Test Site (CTS).

Since the first firing in March of this year, Northrop Grumman
has successfully conducted 38 full-scale hot fire tests,
with more planned through the fall to verify engine performance
and demonstrate plume signatures. A planned risk-reduction
flight is scheduled in 2005.

“This development engine is the largest peroxide/hydrocarbon
engine Northrop Grumman has designed and tested,” said Jerry
Agee, vice president, Missile Defense Division, Northrop
Grumman Mission Systems. “The advantage of hydrogen peroxide
technology and hydrocarbon fuel is a cleaner, more environmentally
friendly engine that is easier to field and maintain. We
were very confident of our approach since much of our knowledge
of these chemicals is derived from our years of success
using them in developing the airborne and tactical high-energy
laser technologies.”

CTS, a recognized national asset for propulsion, directed
energy and energy testing, has hosted more than 28,000 engine
firings. This 2,700-plus acre facility is home to the propulsion
integration test stand, which is dedicated to MDA liquid
engine development efforts. The Liquid Booster engine program
will build on CTS’s successful 40-year legacy, which includes
development and testing of nationally important programs
such as the Apollo Lunar Excursion Module Descent Engine
and airborne laser technologies.

Targets currently being fielded by the U.S. government use
solid rocket motors. Since many of today’s threats use liquid
propellant, MDA is developing a liquid booster alternative
for future tests and evaluations. In April 2002, Northrop
Grumman won a three-year, $30 million contract from MDA
to design, develop and support a risk-reduction flight of
a liquid booster.

Northrop Grumman Mission Systems, based in Reston, Va.,
is a $3.5 billion global integrator of complex, mission-enabling
systems and services for defense, intelligence and civil
government markets. The sector’s technology leadership and
expertise spans areas such as strategic systems, including
ICBMs; missile defense; intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance;
command and control; and technical services and training.

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Contact: Marynoele Benson
Northrop Grumman Mission Systems
(703) 741-7723

SpaceRef staff editor.