ATK Gets Contract for Stratolaunch Propulsion System

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ARLINGTON, Va., Aug. 13, 2013 (ATK PR) –
ATK (NYSE: ATK) has received a contract from Orbital Sciences Corporation (NYSE: 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 Antares®tm 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.

About Stratolaunch Systems

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. More information about Stratolaunch Systems can be found at http://stratolaunch.com/.

About Orbital

Orbital develops and manufactures small- and medium-class rockets and space systems for commercial, military and civil government customers. The company’s primary products are satellites and launch vehicles, including low-Earth orbit, geosynchronous-Earth orbit and planetary exploration spacecraft for communications, remote sensing, scientific and defense missions; human-rated space systems for Earth-orbit, lunar and other missions; ground- and air-launched rockets that deliver satellites into orbit; and missile defense systems that are used as interceptor and target vehicles. Orbital also provides satellite subsystems and space-related technical services to U.S. government agencies and laboratories. More information about Orbital can be found on the Internet at http://www.orbital.com, on Twitter @OrbitalSciences, or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/OrbitalSciencesCorp

About ATK

ATK is an aerospace, defense, and commercial products company with operations in 21 states, Puerto Rico, and internationally. News and information can be found on the Internet at www.atk.com, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/atk, or on Twitter @ATK.

3 Responses to “ATK Gets Contract for Stratolaunch Propulsion System”


  1. 1 therealdmt

    It’s terrible to say, but…Meh.

  2. 2 Denniswingo

    Can you say, air launched ICBM…..

  3. 3 Douglas Messier

    Nah. My sources tell me the military wants this to be able to put satellites into precise orbits so it can look at specific things it wants to look at when it wants to look at them.

    Beyond that, I can say no more. But, I think you can read between the lines.

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