With the aid of Firefly Aerospace, Northrop Grumman's Antares rocket is ready to receive an all-American update. The two American space corporations revealed on Monday, August 8, that they will collaborate on the construction of a new first stage for Northrop Grumman's Antares rocket as well as the creation of an entirely new medium-lift booster for next launches.

As a result of the collaboration, Northrop Grumman will develop the Antares 330, a more potent rocket that can launch greater payloads than the current Antares rocket, which is made in Ukraine and powered by Russian engines.

The move ends Northrop Grumman's reliance on Ukraine and Russia for vital Antares rocket parts, which the company uses to carry NASA's Cygnus cargo ships on their trips to the International Space Station.

According to Scott Lehr, vice president and general manager of launch and missile defense systems at Northrop Grumman, "through our collaboration, we will first develop a fully domestic version of our Antares rocket, the Antares 330, for Cygnus space station commercial resupply services, followed by an entirely new medium-class launch vehicle".

The Antares first stage is currently being built in Ukraine by the Yuzhnoye State Design Office and Yuzhmash Machine Building Plant, with RD-181 engines coming from Russia. Since Russia invaded Ukraine in February, the availability of both components has been in question. After the United States and other nations imposed severe penalties on the nation over its invasion, the country also stopped all sales of rocket engines to American firms.

After a launch explosion in 2014, Northrop Grumman switched to RD-181 engines from the refurbished Russian rocket engines it had been utilizing previously. These engines were created for that nation's N-1moon rocket in the 1960s.

Northrop Grumman claimed at the time that the business had enough engines and stages to build two Antares rockets after Russia invaded Ukraine. The first of those is slated to go live in October, while the second is anticipated to do the same in 2023. In order to fly Cygnus until the Antares 330 is ready, Northrop Grumman will also purchase three SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket flights, according to SpaceNews and Bloomberg.

One of the private businesses chosen by NASA to transport supplies to the International Space Station is Northrop Grumman. The other two are Sierra Nevada Space Systems and SpaceX. Since 2013, Northrop's Cygnus cargo ships have transported supplies to the space station.

While this is going on, Firefly is creating its rockets as well as a Blue Ghost moon lander and a Space Utility Vehicle for usage in orbit.