US: Orbital has signed a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with the U.S. Air Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC). The CRADA provides the framework and plan for data exchange that is needed to certify Orbital ATK’s Next Generation Launch (NGL) system for carrying on National Security Space missions.
“Under this CRADA, Orbital ATK is better able to support SMC in being the guardians of assured access to space,” said Scott Lehr, President of Orbital ATK’s Flight Systems Group.
“We look forward to certifying NGL to launch National Security Space Missions.”
Orbital ATK is in the early stage production of development hardware for NGL. Till date, the company has jointly invested more than $200 million with the Air Force to develop the NGL rocket family.
Apart from launching the entire spectrum of national security payloads, the NGL family will be entirely capable of launching science and commercial satellites that are too large to be launched by Orbital ATK’s current Pegasus, Minotaur and Antares space launch vehicles.
The NGL vehicles will share common propulsion, structures and avionics systems with other company programs, including smaller space launch vehicles as well as missile defense interceptors, target vehicles, and strategic missile systems.