ATK Propulsion Technologies Key to Successful Delta II Launch
MINNEAPOLIS, Aug. 17 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ – Alliant Techsystems (NYSE: ATK) played a key role in the successful launch of United Launch Alliance’s Delta II rocket today from Space Launch Complex 17A at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., carrying the GPS IIR-21 satellite for the Air Force.
Nine ATK GEM-40 solid propulsion strap-on boosters provided augmented thrust for the launch. Six of the boosters ignited at lift-off with the first-stage main engine and provided over 824,000 pounds maximum thrust for the launch vehicle. Just over one minute later, the remaining three boosters ignited to provide an additional 427,000 pounds maximum thrust. The spent motors were then jettisoned from the rocket as it continued its ascent.
ATK manufactured the GEM-40 motors at its facility in Magna, Utah, continuing a tradition of flight support for Delta II missions that began in 1990. The composite cases for the GEM-40 boosters were produced at ATK’s Clearfield, Utah, facility and are made of graphite epoxy material using an automated filament winding process the company developed and refined through its 50-year heritage in composite manufacturing.
Following burnout and separation of the GEM-40 boosters, approximately one hour and five minutes into the flight, an ATK-produced STAR((TM)) 48B rocket motor, acting as the Delta II third stage, fired for an 85-second burn, separating the GPS IIR-21 satellite from the launch vehicle. Following a two-day coast period, ATK’s STAR(TM) 37FM motor will be ignited via an ATK Model 2134B safe-and-arm device, placing the GPS spacecraft in its final orbit within the GPS constellation.
The STAR motors have been produced at ATK’s Elkton, Md., facility since 1965 and play an integral role in the exploration and commercialization of space. This mission marks the 101st successful flight for the STAR 48B, 29th successful flight for the STAR 37FM and the 2,444th successful flight of the STAR family of motors.
This launch is the eighth modernized NAVSTAR Global Positioning System Block 2R military navigation satellite and completes the installation of the GPS IIR constellation. The purpose of the Global Positioning System (GPS) is to provide highly accurate positioning, navigation and timing data globally, 24-hours a day, and in any type of weather to civilian and authorized military users.
Lockheed Martin and its navigation payload provider ITT of Clifton, N.J., designed and built 21 IIR spacecraft and subsequently modernized eight of those spacecraft designated Block IIR-M for the Global Positioning Systems Wing, Space and Missile Systems Center, Los Angeles Air Force Base, Calif.
GPS IIR-M satellites include an upgrade from the baseline GPS IIR design that incorporates two new military signals for enhanced accuracy and a second civil signal on a different frequency. This upgrade resulted in a load, which is managed via a 3-foot by 5-foot equipment panel with an enhanced thermal control architecture that implements a network of embedded heat pipes for efficient heat acquisition and distribution. ATK’s Beltsville, Md., facilities fabricated and tested the upgraded panels under contract to Lockheed Martin, contributing to the overall mission success of the high profile GPS IIR-M capability upgrade.
ATK is a premier aerospace and defense company with more than 18,000 employees in 22 states, Puerto Rico and internationally, and revenues of approximately $4.8 billion. News and information can be found on the Internet at www.atk.com.
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