Northrop Grumman recently completed a live, static-fire test of a Sentinel intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) stage-two solid rocket motor. The test was conducted at the U.S. Air Force Arnold Engineering Development Complex in a vacuum chamber that simulated the conditions the motor would experience during high-altitude and space flight.
The team will use the test data to determine how motor performance matched digitally engineered model predictions, which is critical to advancing the design and lowering risk. Northrop Grumman will now begin a series of rocket motor qualification testing for both stages — the company is designing and manufacturing stages one and two of the three-stage Sentinel missile.
According to Sarah Willoughby, Northrop Grumman vice president and Sentinel program manager, the successful test moves the company forward for qualification testing.
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The Sentinel program is a modernization of the nation's ground-based leg of the strategic triad and is designed to be viable through 2075.
Northrop Grumman leads a nationwide team for the engineering, manufacturing and design (EMD) contract. The team is responsible for designing the most technologically advanced portion of America’s ground-based strategic deterrent and is closely partnered with the Air Force to continue progress on EMD milestones, maturing the design while reducing risk.
Other key milestones previously performed under EMD include hypersonic wind tunnel testing and a stage-one solid rocket motor static fire.