The Virginia-based aerospace company Northrop Grumman conducted a static fire test of the first stage of its futuristic rocket, which is being designed for the US Air Force’s national security space missions.

Northrop Grumman’s Vice President Kent Rominger has declared the first ground test of its future OmegA rocket a success, even though it appeared to have suffered a minor setback towards the end during a livestream.

The test of the first stage, basically the main body of the missile, that was conducted at the company’s facility in Promontory, Utah, lasted for 122 seconds, but just before the firing shut off, something went wrong, with sparks and flaming debris coming out of the nozzle.

“What we observed today was successful test. It appears that everything worked very well. At the very end when the engine was tailing off, we observed the exit cone and maybe a portion of it doing something a little strange that we need to go further look into”, Rominger said.

Northrop Grumman said in a statement that the test verified the performance of the motor’s ballistics, insulation and joints, as well as control of the nozzle position.

Back in October 2018, the US Air Force and Missile Systems Centre awarded Northrop Grumman a $792 million Launch Service Agreement to continue the development of the next-generation rocket, OmegA. The first launch is scheduled for 2021, with plans to begin operational launches of national security payloads in 2022, according to the company’s press release.

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