by Staff Writers
Arlington VA (SPX) Aug 14, 2013
ATK (ATK) has received a contract from Orbital Sciences Corporation (ORB) to provide first and second stage propulsion for the Air Launch Vehicle (ALV) that Orbital is designing and building for Stratolaunch Systems Corporation as part of a revolutionary air-launched space transportation system. The contract from Orbital includes the design, development and flight hardware for initial Stratolaunch missions.
"ATK is pleased to receive this award for the development and production of first and second stage propulsion for the Stratolaunch ALV," said Blake Larson, president of ATK Aerospace Group. "Our innovative propulsion concept combines both proven and state-of-the-art technologies that will provide a high-performing, cost-effective solution for the ALV."
This new work expands ATK's already strong partnership with Orbital, dating back to the development of Orbital's original air-launched vehicle, Pegasus, which also uses ATK solid rocket motors for stage propulsion.
"Our design solution for the ALV will take full advantage of ATK's experience with large diameter solid rocket motors, like those built for the Space Shuttle and for the Titan IVB launch vehicle. The stages for ALV will also use high-strength, low-weight graphite composite cases, advanced propellants, and heritage materials from ATK's extensive line of commercial solid rocket motors," said Scott Lehr, vice president and general manager of ATK's Defense and Commercial Division.
"Solid rocket motors use stable propellants and have proven highly reliable in a wide variety of systems. They are highly engineered systems that are designed for simplified operations, and minimize ground support infrastructure requirements," Lehr added.
ATK has manufactured more than 1600 commercial solid rocket motors to date for a wide variety of launch vehicles including Delta II and Delta IV, as well as Orbital's Pegasus, Taurus, Minotaur and Antarestm space launch vehicles.
ATK first entered the commercial launch vehicle market back in 1987 when it developed its first commercial composite motor, the GEM-40, which is still being used today as part of the Delta II launch vehicle. ATK's commercial product line includes GEM, CASTOR, and Orion solid rocket motors.
Founded in 2011 by philanthropist and entrepreneur Paul G. Allen, Stratolaunch Systems is developing an air-launch system that will revolutionize space transportation by providing orbital access to space at lower costs, with greater safety and more flexibility.
The system will allow for maximum operational flexibility and payload delivery from several possible operational sites, while minimizing mission constraints such as range availability and weather.
The system is made up of three primary elements: a carrier aircraft that is being designed by Scaled Composites, a multi-stage rocket system that is being developed by Orbital, and a payload to be delivered into orbit. Initial efforts will focus on unmanned payloads, with human flights following as safety, reliability and operability are demonstrated. Stratolaunch is based in Huntsville, Ala., with assembly facilities in Mojave, Calif.
Rocket Science News at Space-Travel.Com
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