Northrop Grumman Rocket Test is Successful, but Still has Major ProblemsteemCreated with Sketch.

in space •  4 months ago  (edited)

Northrop Grumman, the American defense contractor, is developing a new rocket to place satellites into orbit. It is called the OmegA and uses a solid rocket lower stage instead of liquid fuel. This past week, Northrop conducted a test of the rocket's lower stage, the part using a solid fuel.

The purpose of the test was to verify the burn would be good. That is to say the thrust will be even and not come in bursts. This can be a problem with solid rockets, because the fuel is cast like plastic. Any imperfections can cause the rocket to potentially explode or throw chunks of fuel out the back, which is dangerous and can cause the rocket to not perform as it ought to.

The test itself was successful: the rocket burned as it should. It produced the thrust it should. There were no problems with the motor itself. All of what Northrop wanted to test was successful. This means the test was considered a success.

However...there was a problem still. What the aerospace community calls an 'anomaly.'

That anomaly was the nozzle breaking away at the end of the test. The breakaway was catastrophic. If the rocket had been flying, the rocket launch would have ended in failure. However, because that was not part of what was being tested, the test itself was considered successful. It is most certainly a problem and it must be addressed. To an outsider, the test was a failure, but for someone who is in aerospace, complete success.

As Obi won Kenobi said, it all depends on your point of view.

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