LOCKHEED MARTIN SUCCESSFULLY TEST FIRES FALCON HYBRID MOTOR
NEW ORLEANS, LA., 02-FEB-05 -- Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) successfully test-fired a new hybrid motor as part of the Falcon Small Launch Vehicle (SLV) program at the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), Edwards Air Force Base, Calif. on Jan. 21. This is the first of a series of SLV hybrid motor firings that Lockheed Martin will conduct this year.
The test ran for the planned 60-second duration, and an initial review of data indicates that test objectives were met.
The goal of the Falcon SLV program is to develop and demonstrate an affordable and responsive space lift capability.
The test was the first of a kind to fire a multi-port, multi-row hybrid motor and the first to be conducted at refurbished Test Stand 2A at AFRL, said Paula Hartley, SLV propulsion testing manager at Lockheed Martin, which has been working closely with the AFRL team at Edwards AFB to enhance and activate the test stand to support these types of tests.
Lockheed Martin built the hybrid motor at the NASA Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans using a recently installed low-cost fuel casting facility. The motor has 23,500 pounds of thrust and represents the second stage of the SLV that Lockheed Martin is developing under the Falcon program led by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and the U.S. Air Force. NASA is also participating and providing funding for the program.
This test represents a major step in confirming the feasibility and benefits of the environmentally-friendly and operationally-simple hybrid motor that we believe is the key to achieving the responsive and low-cost launch vehicle that the Falcon program requires, said Bob Simms, Falcon SLV director and program manager at Lockheed Martin.
Hybrid motors combine the best of solid and liquid propulsion systems and offer significant advantages because they are safe, throttleable, affordable and environmentally benign. The hybrid motor typically uses a rubberized fuel and liquid oxygen to generate thrust. Lockheed Martin has been developing hybrid propulsion systems since 1989 and has completed over 600 motor firings, including the successful launching two years ago of a 60,000-pound-thrust sounding rocket from NASA Wallops Island, Va.
In September 2004, DARPA and the Air Force awarded Lockheed Martin an $11.7 million contract to conduct a 10-month preliminary design and development effort to refine its SLV design and conduct risk reduction testing. Lockheed Martin is one of four teams selected for this phase.
Later this year, the government will select one or more teams to continue developing the SLV design and that phase of the Falcon program will conclude with an SLV flight demonstration in 2007.
A photograph of the test firing is available at www.lockheedmartin.com/michoud. Click on “Michoud Image Gallery.”
Lockheed Martin Space Systems – Michoud Operations designs and assembles large aluminum and composite structures such as the Space Shuttle External Tank for aerospace and other applications at the NASA Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans.