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Northrop Grumman Rocket Motor Goes from Development to Testing in Less than a Year

The demo features alternate manufacturing materials and processes to reduce lead times by 75%.

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Northrop Grumman

Northrop Grumman said it successfully conducted a full-scale static test fire of a new solid rocket motor that was developed in less than a year as part of its Solid Motor Annual Rocket Technology Demonstrator (SMART Demo).

The SMART Demo demonstrated several technologies, alternate manufacturing materials and processes to reduce lead times by 75 percent, including:

  • Several advanced, long-lead tooling products as well as components of the solid rocket motor’s nozzle structure, constructed with additive manufacturing techniques
  • A new cost-effective solid rocket motor propellant capable of operating at cold temperatures
  • Alternative suppliers and new materials that could supplement or replace other long-lead materials experiencing challenged supply chains

SMART Demo shows the effective implementation of new solid rocket motor technologies, materials, and processes to reduce development time and costs and improve motor performance. The efforts include the design, development, build and test of a new solid rocket motor and associated tooling.

Northrop Grumman plans to execute SMART Demo’s annually as the company continues to invest and advance in solid rocket motor development and propulsion. SMART Demo expands and strengthens Northrop Grumman’s supplier base by streamlining the test and qualification of new materials, processes and alternate suppliers who manufacture critical materials that use faster and more efficient processes.

Northrop Grumman is also developing five new motors concurrently for the first time. As the company anticipates significantly expanding and increasing motor production count by 2030, it is constructing 11 new buildings and modifying 16 more to support new and existing programs.

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