ARLINGTON, Va., April 3, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- ATK (NYSE: ATK) composite and propulsion technologies supported the successful launch of a United Launch Alliance Delta IV rocket carrying a national security payload for the National Reconnaissance Office.
ATK's two 70-foot long, 60-inch-diameter Graphite Epoxy Motors (GEM) ignited at liftoff, burned for 90 seconds, and provided 560,000 pounds of thrust to help deliver the payload to orbit.
ATK designed and produced the nozzle for the Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne-built RS-68 first stage engine – the largest hydrogen-powered engine in the world – as well as the nozzle's thermal protection material, which is capable of shielding it from the extreme heat of launch when external temperatures can exceed 4,000 F. The nozzle is manufactured at ATK's Promontory, Utah, facility.
ATK supplied nine key composite structures for the Delta IV Medium plus (5,2) launch vehicle including the interstage, centerbody, thermal shield and an LO2 skirt. The payload is encapsulated by a composite payload fairing, along with required hardware for payload integration.
The composite structures are five meters in diameter and range from one to fifteen meters in length and are produced at the ATK manufacturing facility in Iuka, Miss., with additional hardware produced at the Clearfield, Utah facility.
ATK's Commerce, Calif., facility manufactures the Upper Stage Reaction Control System (RCS) propellant tank assembly, which uses an elastomeric diaphragm to dampen fluid motion and limit the shifting of the propellant's center of gravity. It is the current industry standard for launch vehicle RCS tank needs in the United States and has been flight-proven on Delta and Atlas launch vehicles; the Space Shuttle fleet; and interplanetary spacecraft including Pioneer, Voyager, and CASSINI.
ATK is an aerospace, defense, and commercial products company with operations in 22 states, Puerto Rico, and internationally. News and information can be found on the Internet at www.atk.com.