Northrop Grumman’s GEM Solid Rocket Motors Help Launch 'National Security Payload’

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  • 05:44 AM, September 11, 2023
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Northrop Grumman’s GEM Solid Rocket Motors Help Launch 'National Security Payload’
ULA Atlas V rocket, with five GEM 63 solid rocket boosters, lifts off from Cape Canaveral to launch the NROL-107 mission @NGC

The United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V today successfully launched a 'national security payload' with the assistance of five Graphite Epoxy Motor (GEM 63) solid rocket boosters, manufactured by Northrop Grumman.

They are designated as SILENTBARKEKR / NROL-107 and are built for the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office and U.S. Space Force’s Space Systems Command.

NROL usually represents "National Reconnaissance Office Launch," denoting covert satellite launches for the U.S. government. These missions are characterized by a high level of confidentiality, with mission details, payloads, and objectives typically remaining undisclosed to the public.

The boosters provided approximately 1.85 million pounds of thrust to propel ULA Atlas V rocket out of Earth’s gravity. The mission is critical to national defense and will improve space domain awareness and satellite threat intelligence. In addition to the upper stage propellant tanks supplied by the company, Northrop Grumman will continue to provide GEM 63 rocket motors to support ULA’s Atlas V, and GEM 63XL rocket motors to help boost ULA’s Vulcan rocket, scheduled for its first launch later this year.

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