Orbital ATK, in partnership with the US Air Force (USAF), has provided an update on the development of the next-generation Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) class rocket, OmegA.

Featuring Aerojet Rocketdyne’s RL10C as the upper stage propulsion engine, the OmegA rocket configuration consists of Orbital ATK-built first and second solid rocket stages, strap-on solid boosters, and a cryogenic liquid upper stage.

Both the parties have invested more than $250m in the development of the OmegA rocket in the last three years. The company has committed further investment for the completion of the rocket’s development and certification.

Orbital ATK Flight Systems Group president Scott Lehr said: “Our OmegA rocket provides the best combination of performance, affordability and reliability to support the full range of our customers’ mission requirements.

“Based on our experience of producing more than 430 launch vehicles over the last 35 years, we have the rigorous processes, operational discipline and oversight transparency that are expected by our US Government customers.

“Our OmegA rocket provides the best combination of performance, affordability and reliability.”

“With the industrial resources and financial capabilities of a $5bn revenue company, Orbital ATK is fully committed to meeting the technical and schedule requirements of this important programme.”

About 500 employees are currently involved in constructing the propulsion and structural elements for the OmegA development programme.

Work on the programme is being carried out in Arizona, Utah, Mississippi, and Louisiana, US.

The USAF is expected to award Launch Services Agreements later this year, marking the start of the OmegA programme’s next phase.

The rocket will complete propulsion system ground tests next year, conduct its maiden launch in 2021 and receive certification for operational EELV missions in 2022, with initial heavy configuration flights to start in 2024.