Rocket motor test demonstration for US Air Force

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Solid rocket motor ground level fire test

Orbital ATK has successfully demonstrated its medium class solid rocket motor to America’s air force in a ground level static fire test.

The US Air Force and Orbital ATK have successfully conducted a ground level static fire test of the Medium-Class Stage III (MCS-III) solid rocket motor, demonstrating the advanced technology being studied for use in the forthcoming Air Force Ground-Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD) system.

“The technology demonstration is an important stepping stone for the future GBSD programme,” said Charlie Precourt, vice president and general manager of Orbital ATK’s Propulsion Systems Division. “This test of new propulsion technology is a significant achievement for our company and the Air Force.”

Orbital ATK developed the high-performance upper stage motor for the MCS-III programme. The objectives of the static fire test were to demonstrate an advanced strategic grade propellant, validate feasibility of motor thrust reversal/thrust termination system in a graphite epoxy case and demonstrate a performance enhancing, vectorable nozzle with electro-mechanical thrust vector control. Preliminary test results indicate the motor performed within predictions.

The Air Force plans to replace Minuteman III propulsion elements with a modern propulsion system as part of the GBSD programme. The Air Force is preparing for the forthcoming development work by maturing and demonstrating the available technology in a medium-class solid rocket motor, applicable to the GBSD propulsion systems.

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