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

by | Sep 10, 2020 | commercial launch services, Launches, Military space, Seradata News

Northrop Grumman has decided formally to end development of its OmegA rocket after being an unsuccessful bidder for phase 2 of the US Department of Defense’s National Security Space Launch programme. The DoD has selected United Launch Alliance (ULA) and SpaceX for the 2022-27 launches. Northrop has said it will not appeal the selection result.

Capable of carrying payloads in a range of  4,900-10,100 kg to a geosynchronous transfer orbit (GTO), the OmegA rocket, which used solid rockets as its first, second and booster stages with an RL-10C-5-1 engine powered cryogenic upper stage, was designed to capture a slice of the lucrative US government launch market.

The DoD had previously funded three competitors – ULA, Blue Origin and Northrop – though Launch Services Agreements. SpaceX was not the recipient of an LSA, which 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 ended.

While Blue Origin, backed by Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos, was also unsuccessful, it is expected to continue development of the New Glenn rocket. It already has several commercial contracts signed for it. The development of its main engine, the BE-4, is being co-funded by ULA, which plans to employ it on the Vulcan rocket.

Post Script: It was not all bad news for Northrop Grumman. Under a US$13.3 billion contract, the company has been selected by the DoD to supply the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD) intercontinental ballistic missile to replace the venerable Minuteman III. Some 450 missiles will make up the contract.

Matt Wilson contributed to this story.

Artist’s impression of OmegA rocket in flight. Courtesy: Northrop Grumman


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

Related Articles

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

Early in August, the US Department of Defense decided to continue with only SpaceX and United Launch Alliance (ULA) for 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

Three NRO payloads launched by a Minotaur rocket

The USA successfully launched a Minotaur 1 vehicle for the US National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) at 1335 GMT on 15 Read more

A near-mythological Pegasus rocket launches from Vandenberg carrying military payload

A Pegasus-XL air-launched rocket successfully launched with ODYSSEY (Tacrl2) from Vandenberg Space Force Base, California, at 0811 on 13 June Read more

Northrop Grumman and L3Harris to design hypersonic missile detection satellites for US

Two American defence contractors Northrop Grumman and L3Harris have received contracts to develop prototype hypersonic missile sensors. The award was Read more

Northrop Grumman given contract to design “jam-resistant” follow-on to AEHF

On 16 September Northrop Grumman received a contract from the US Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC) to develop a Read more