Northrop Grumman and Firefly’s Antares 330 and MLV plans take shape

As the Cygnus S.S. Laurel Clark spends its first days berthed to the ISS, the successor to the Antares 230+ launch vehicle that launched it is taking shape in the facilities of Northrop Grumman (NG) and Firefly Aerospace.  The Antares 330/Medium Launch Vehicle (MLV), scheduled for its first flight in mid-2025, is being developed to conduct ISS cargo flights from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at Wallops Island, Virginia. Its development started after the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 crippled the existing Antares supply chain.  Antares 230+ and its predecessors used Russian engines and a Ukrainian-built first stage. The Russian engines are unavailable after Western nations, including the United States, applied sanctions, while the Ukrainian factory responsible for the first stage has been attacked by Russian forces. The Antares 330, based on a brand new first stage with seven Firefly Miranda engines using kerosene and liquid oxygen, is designed to use the existing launch and processing facilities that supported the S.S. Laurel Clark and most other NG Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) contract flights. Like earlier versions of Antares, the 330 will fly from Launch Pad 0A at Wallops. The facilities at Wallops that supported the original Antares launches are…

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Northrop Grumman and Firefly’s Antares 330 and MLV plans take shape

Updated: August 9, 2023 — 10:26 pm