The maximum thrust of the GEM 63 is 373,000 pounds or roughly the equivalent of five B-2 Spirit bombers. Up to five GEM 63 motors can support a single Atlas V launch.
“This test is an important step in the development of these new boosters for the Atlas V launch vehicle and we thank Northrop Grumman for the continued partnership and outstanding teamwork,” said Tory Bruno, ULA’s president and CEO. “By flying key hardware first on our Atlas V rocket prior to flying it on our Vulcan Centaur rocket, it provides increased confidence for the first flight of our new rocket in 2021.”
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. The first launch using GEM 63 motors will take place in 2020.
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