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. ATK Wins Another Orion Launch Abort Subsystem Contract

ATK is a $3.9 billion advanced weapon and space systems company employing approximately 16,500 people in 21 states.
by Staff Writers
Minneapolis MN (SPX) Jul 24, 2007
Alliant Techsystems has been selected by Orbital Sciences as part of the Orion prime contractor team, led by Lockheed Martin, to provide the attitude control motor (ACM) for NASA's Orion crew exploration vehicle launch abort system (LAS). The new LAS contract is valued at approximately $70 million. The ACM adds to ATK's content on the LAS, which already includes the primary launch abort motor. Work on the ACM will be performed at ATK facilities in Elkton, MD.

ATK will lead an industry team including Moog, Inc., Buffalo, NY and Fiber Materials, Inc., Biddeford, ME in the development of the attitude control motor. The ACM will utilize proven space-qualified propellant and gas generator technologies and ATK's unique proportional valve.

An array of eight valves will be used to provide the thrust needed to properly orient the Orion capsule for safe recovery in the event of a variety of possible launch abort scenarios.

"ATK is honored to be leading the development of this key propulsion subsystem for the nation's human-rated spaceflight program," said Bart Olson, vice president and general manager of ATK's Tactical Propulsion and Controls Division, Baltimore, MD.

"America's astronauts expect and deserve the aerospace communities' best efforts to ensure their safety. The Orion launch abort system ACM will reflect the human-rated spaceflight heritage that is a hallmark of ATK," Mr. Olson added.

The Orion crew exploration vehicle is the successor to the Space Shuttle as NASA's primary vehicle for future human space exploration. In the event of an emergency during launch, the LAS will allow the astronaut crew to safely escape, with the ATK developed ACM playing a critical role in the mission as the capsule is jettisoned away from the launch vehicle.

The Orion LAS will be demonstrated during an abort system test that is scheduled to take place in 2008 at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico.

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