Northrop Grumman proposed OmegA rocket may be culled after not winning US multi-year launch services award…and now confirmed (Updated)

by | Aug 26, 2020 | Seradata News

Early in August, the US Department of Defense decided to continue with only SpaceX and United Launch Alliance (ULA) for its military and governmental launches. The National Security Space Launch Phase 2 award covers government launches over the 2022-27 period. Northrop Grumman now has to decide whether or not to continue with the development of its planned OmegA rocket.

The DoD had previously been funding three competitors, ULA, Blue Origin and Northrop Grumman. This was through Launch Services Agreements (LSA) – SpaceX was not the recipient of an LSA. These LSAs were valued at US$500 million for Blue Origin, US$792 million for Northrop and US$967 million for ULA. Now that the Phase 2 awards have been made, the development funding for the two unsuccessful bidders is to be ended.

Corporate logo of Northrop Grumman, Courtesy of Northrop Grumman

 

While it does have a strong space business (having acquired Orbital ATK in 2018), Northrop was designing the OmegA rocket largely to capture a slice of the lucrative US government launch market. With the door now effectively closed in its face, it may decide to cut its losses with OmegA and move on. In comparison, Blue Origin’s development of the New Glenn is not likely to be as adversely affected. It already has commercial contracts signed for the rocket and the development of its main engine, the BE-4, is being co-funded by ULA. It can also rely on the backing of ultra-rich founder Jeff Bezos.

Any decision about OmegA’s future will probably wait until after the two dropped companies are debriefed by the US Air Force. Both Blue Origin and Northrop Grumman have expressed their deep disappointment at not winning an award.

Update on 10 September 2020: Northrop Grumman has formally announced the end of the OmegA rocket development programme.

 

Comment by Matthew Wilson: It would not be surprising if the DoD has to contend with one or two legal protests from the losing companies – as is so often the case when large sums of money are up for grabs.

About Seradata

Seradata produce the renowned SpaceTrak Launch & Satellite Database. Trusted by 100 of the world’s leading Space organisations, SpaceTrak is a fully queryable database used for market analysis, failure/risk assessment, spectrum analysis and space situational awareness (SSA).

For more information go to www.seradata.com/spacetrak

Related Articles

Northrop Grumman formally ends its OmegA rocket programme after being left out of US DoD launch contracts

Northrop Grumman has decided formally to end development of its OmegA rocket after being an unsuccessful bidder for phase 2 Read more

Launch bookings: OmegA rocket gets first order from Saturn Satellite Networks as Kepler books with competitor SpaceX

Northrop Grumman made a big show of its mainly solid rocket-based OmegA, aimed at the military and government market, at Read more

US Air Force to part fund three companies’ new rocket development but SpaceX is left out for now

A bit like the NASA commercial crew effort, the US Air Force has announced that it is to part fund three companies’ development of Read more

Orbital ATK’s OmegA rocket comes together with selection of RL-10C for upper stage

Orbital ATK's plans to effectively join the battle for military and government launches using a new solid rocket has come Read more

Northrop Grumman’s Space Logistics outlines plans for MRV satellite servicing mission in 2024

SpaceLogistics, a subsidiary of American manufacturer Northrop Grumman, announced its plans for launching its  MRV satellite on 21 February. The Read more

NASA chooses three commercial LEO space station designs as possible replacements for ISS whose retirement it wants to delay until 2030

NASA has signed agreements with three US companies to develop designs of space stations and other commercial destinations in low Read more

Other International Space Station events: Cygnus NG-16 (Ellison Onizuka) departs without fuss

The space cargo vessel Cygnus NG-16 (Ellison Onizuka) was "unberthed" from the Earth-facing port of the Unity module of the Read more

Cygnus heads for ISS while Starliner remains grounded

Northrop Grumman launched a Cygnus resupply spacecraft on one of its Antares launch vehicles from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at Read more

Categories

Archives