Northrop Grumman completes second ground test of Graphite Epoxy Motor
Northrop Grumman conducted its second ground test of a 63-inch diameter Graphite Epoxy Motor in Promontory, Utah. The company developed this new side-mounted rocket motor to add power to the United Launch Alliance Atlas V launch vehicle. The GEM 63 will fly on United Launch Alliance's Atlas V launch vehicle starting next year. The first ground test, conducted in September 2018, qualified the motor for use as a strap-on booster for the Atlas V. Today's test satisfies additional requirements for certification by the U.S. Air Force. In addition to the GEM 63 motor, Northrop Grumman is also developing a GEM 63XL motor for ULA's Vulcan Centaur rocket. Both versions of the GEM 63 family use common materials and processes to maintain a high-reliability, low-cost product. The first GEM 63XL case, which is the longest non-segmented, monolithic case ever manufactured, has already been wound at a new facility in Clearfield, Utah, and is currently in the structural qualification process.