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Orbital ATK provided large composite structures and retro motors for ULA Atlas V vehicles

News International-French

30 Oct 2017

Orbital ATK, a global specialist in aerospace and defense technologies, supported the launches of three United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V vehicles with critical hardware from multiple divisions across the country.

One of the rockets launched NASA’s Tracking and Data Relay Satellite (TDRS)-M spacecraft, which included multiple components manufactured by Orbital ATK. The other two rockets launched national security payloads for the National Reconnaissance Office, designated NROL-42 and NROL-52. All three launches took place within eight weeks.

“Orbital ATK-produced structures and components on the ULA Atlas V launch vehicles contributed to three successful launches in just eight weeks,” said Steve Earl, Vice President and General Manager of Orbital ATK’s Aerospace Structures Division. “Our highly engineered composite and control products play an important role in ensuring not only continued space communication, but dependable access to space and affordable innovation for our customers.”

For all three launches, Orbital ATK produced the ULA Atlas V vehicles’ 10-foot diameter composite heat shields, which provide essential protection for each first stage, at the company’s facility in Iuka, Mississippi. The company also manufactured the rockets’ Reaction Control System propellant tanks at its Commerce, California, facility. In addition, eight solid motors supported separation of each rocket’s spent first stage. Orbital ATK built the Atlas V retrorockets at its facility in Elkton, Maryland.

Boeing Space and Intelligence Systems of El Segundo, California, built the TDRS-M spacecraft for NASA. Orbital ATK’s Beltsville, Maryland, facility provided multiple components for the satellite that included radiator and structural panels, and the company’s Commerce, California, facility, provided the spacecraft’s propellant tanks. TDRS-M will provide NASA’s Space Network the ability to support space communication for an additional 15 years. The satellite launched August 18 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida.

For the NROL-42 launch, Orbital ATK provided two additional composite structures on ULA’s Atlas V launch vehicle, which include the Centaur Interstage Adapter (CISA) that houses the second stage engine, and the boattail that adapts from the core vehicle to the five-meter diameter fairing. Orbital ATK fabricated both of these structures in Iuka, Mississippi. NROL-42 launched September 23 from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California.

NROL-52 launched October 15 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. This was the 74th Atlas V launch using Orbital ATK-built composite structures and the 39th consecutive successful flight of the Orbital ATK retromotors.