Aerospace and defence technology company Northrop Grumman has secured the first client for its OmegA space launch vehicle.

OmegA rocket will launch two NationSat small geostationary satellites for start-up company Saturn Satellite Networks (SSN) in 2021 as part of the contract.

On its inaugural flight from Kennedy Space Center’s Pad 39B, the rocket will deploy the SSN satellites into a geosynchronous transfer orbit.

Northrop Grumman flight systems vice-president and general manager Scott Lehr said: “The OmegA rocket expands Northrop Grumman’s launch capabilities beyond our small and medium-class rockets, which have successfully launched nearly 80 missions.

“Expanding the company’s launch capabilities to the intermediate/heavy class with OmegA complements our national security satellite portfolio and enables us to better support our customers.”

Saturn Satellite Networks was founded by former executives of fleet operator ABS of Bermuda.

OmegA is powered by solid propulsion for the boost stages and RL10 engines for the upper stage.

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In October last year, the US Air Force (USAF) awarded Northrop Grumman a Launch Services Agreement worth $792m for design and verification of the OmegA launch vehicle and launch sites.

This satellite mission will serve as a crucial step in the certification flight for the USAF National Security Space Launch programme.

Northrop Grumman propulsion systems vice-president Charlie Precourt said: “Having Saturn’s NationSat on board for this mission further demonstrates the versatility of OmegA to serve other markets including commercial and civil government.”

Last month, Northrop Grumman launched Nasa’s 12th Cygnus cargo mission to the International Space Station (ISS) on its Antares rocket.

Northrop Grumman’s OmegA rocket will launch up to two satellites manufactured by Saturn Satellite Networks in the spring of 2021.