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Northrop Advances Sentinel Missile Program With Second Stage Rocket Motor Test

New ICBM milestone

Northrop Advances Sentinel Missile Program With Second Stage Rocket Motor Test

Northrop Grumman will kick off a series of rocket motor qualification tests for the Stage 1 and 2 rockets of the three-stage Sentinel intercontinental ballistic missile that it is working on under a U.S. Air Force contract. The Sentinel program, formerly known as the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent, is geared to replace the 50-year-old Minuteman III missile starting in 2029.  

According to Northrop Grumman, the tests for both stages will use data from the recently completed live, static-fire test on Sentinel’s Stage 2 solid rocket motor. The motor was tested at the U.S. Air Force Arnold Engineering Development Complex, using a vacuum chamber simulating high-altitude and space flight conditions, Northrop Grumman said.

A test analysis will be conducted to check if the motor’s performance matches digitally engineered model predictions, the key to advancing the design and lowering its risks, the company added.

Sarah Willoughby, Northrop Grumman’s vice president and Sentinel program manager, said the second-stage rocket motor test “builds confidence” in the company’s steps toward delivery of the next-generation ICBM to the U.S. Air Force.

Northrop Grumman had also previously completed a hypersonic wind tunnel test and a Stage 1 solid rocket motor static fire under its Sentinel ICBM engineering, manufacturing and design contract.

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Category: Defense and Intelligence

Tags: Defense and Intelligence fire test Intercontinental Ballistic Missile Northrop Grumman Sarah Willoughby Sentinel US Air Force