Antares Rocket

Northrop Grumman's Antares rocket is a two-stage vehicle with optional third stage that provides low-Earth orbit launch capability for payloads weighing up to 8,000 kg. Today the rocket is primarily used to support the company's Commercial Resupply Services contract with NASA.

Responsive and Low-Cost Access to Space

Designed to provide responsive and low-cost access to space, the Antares rocket is a two-stage vehicle (with optional third stage) that provides low-Earth orbit (LEO) launch capability for payloads weighing up to 8,000 kg. The rocket's design has been upgraded with newly-built RD-181 first stage engines to provide greater payload performance and increased reliability.

Internally funded by Northrop Grumman, Antares completed a risk reduction mission and a demonstration of commercial re-supply services for the International Space Station under a NASA Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) agreement in 2013. Northrop Grumman commenced delivery of cargo to the space station under the NASA Commercial Resupply Services (CRS1) contract in 2014, and was selected to continue flying cargo re-supply missions under the CRS2 contract which includes at least six missions starting in 2019.

The Antares launch system utilizes Northrop Grumman's proven MACH avionics system and many management approaches, engineering standards, production and test processes common to Northrop Grumman's family of successful small-class Pegasus and Minotaur launch vehicles. The Antares design utilizes powerful RD-181 first stage engines that deliver excellent payload performance and high reliability.

Antares Playlist

System Features Include:

  • Incorporates both solid and liquid stages and flight-proven technologies
  • Provides substantial payload performance into a variety of low inclination low-Earth and sun synchronous orbits and interplanetary trajectories
  • 3.9 meter fairing accommodates large payloads
  • Removable pop-top nose cone allows for late load access to spacecraft
  • Streamlined vehicle/payload integration and testing reduces time from encapsulation to lift-off
  • Capable of launching single and multiple payloads.
  • Initial launch capability from Wallops Flight Facility (WFF), Virginia
  • Also compatible with the Western Range at Vandenberg Air Force Base (VAFB), Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS) and Kodiak Launch Complex (KLC)

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