Northrop Grumman Tests Solid Rocket Motor
Company's demo showed technologies such as long-lead tooling products and components of the solid rocket motor’s nozzle structure, made with additive manufacturing.
Additive Manufacturing News
Additive Manufacturing Resources
December 12, 2023
Northrop Grumman Corp. 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 successfully demonstrated several technologies, alternate manufacturing materials and processes to reduce lead times by 75%, according to the company, 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
“We are designing and building the world's largest and most advanced solid rocket motors, and we’re proving we can do so with shorter lead times, an expanded supply chain and increased agility for our customers,” says Wendy Williams, vice president, propulsion systems, Northrop Grumman.
SMART Demo shows implementation of new solid rocket motor technologies, materials, and processes. 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.
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.
Sources: Press materials received from the company and additional information gleaned from the company’s website.
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