Northrop Grumman team survives fun-KEI business

The Kinetic Energy Interceptor (KEI) appears to have overcome both budget and design scares within the past few weeks. A proposed Congressional funding cut for the Northrop Grumman-led programme was reversed in the final version of the budget approved by lawmakers last week, the company says. Also, a potentially fatal design flaw in the second stage rocket motor was fixed and validated during a ground test last Thursday.

Only four more ground tests remain before the first booster launch scheduled next summer. A canister-ejection test is also scheduled in 2011, but Northrop says this could be accelerated. But no KEI missile will be tested as an interceptor until at least 2014.

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