ATK Completes Validation of High-Power MegaFlex Solar Array for NASA Missions

Artist's conception of ATK's High-Power Megaflex Solar Array. (Credit: ATK)
Artist’s conception of ATK’s High-Power Megaflex Solar Array. (Credit: ATK)

ARLINGTON, VA., Apr. 30, 2014 (ATK PR) – ATK (NYSE: ATK) has successfully completed testing of its MegaFlex™ solar array wing under a contract with NASA Glenn Research Center (Glenn) to ready high-power solar arrays for powering large-scale Solar Electric Propulsion (SEP) systems planned for use on future robotic and manned exploration missions.

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ATK Gets $178 Million Contract to Support ULA’s Launch Vehicles

Delta IV lifts off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. (Credit: Ben Cooper, United Launch Alliance)
Delta IV lifts off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. (Credit: Ben Cooper, United Launch Alliance)

ARLINGTON, Va., April 16, 2014 (ATL PR) — ATK has reached agreement on a $178 million contract award as part of the Air Force’s Phase 1 Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) buy from United Launch Alliance (ULA). The order value includes hardware for both of the current United States Air Force EELV launch vehicles, the Atlas V and Delta IV. The initial contracting period includes large composite structures with deliveries commencing in AFY14 and continuing into early AFY18. The option period includes hardware deliveries in AFY17 through AFY19.

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ATK to Upgrade Space Florida’s Launch Complex 46

space_florida_logoKENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla., February 11, 2014 (Space Florida PR) – Space Florida has signed a contract with Alliant Techsystems (NYSE: ATK) to continue the refurbishment and modernization of Space Launch Complex 46 (SLC-46) at Cape Canaveral Spaceport.

SLC-46 is a key launch complex for supporting future NASA, Department of Defense, and commercial missions. This marks the third phase of the Communications System refurbishment project since its beginning in 2010. Refurbishment of the communications infrastructure at SLC-46 is anticipated to take approximately one year.

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Industry Team Vows to Meet Deadlines for Orion, SLS Flights

At NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, the Orion ground test vehicle has been lifted high in the air by crane in the transfer aisle of the Vehicle Assembly Building. (Credit: NASA/Dimitri Gerondidakis)
At NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, the Orion ground test vehicle has been lifted high in the air by crane in the transfer aisle of the Vehicle Assembly Building. (Credit: NASA/Dimitri Gerondidakis)

Washington, D.C. (Aerojet Rocketdyne/ATK/Boeing/Lockheed Martin PR) – The biggest accomplishments on the next-generation deep space programs will take place this year, including Orion’s first mission, Space Launch System (SLS) booster and engine firing, and the opening of the SLS Vertical Assembly Center (VAC) – all important steps in preparing for deep space human exploration missions.

NASA’s SLS and Orion four prime contractors met recently at an industry-team meeting to discuss progress to date and ensure the teams are on track for the 2014 and 2017 launches.

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ATK Demonstrates Advanced MegaFlex Solar Array

Artist's conception of ATK's High-Power Megaflex Solar Array. (Credit: ATK)
Artist’s conception of ATK’s High-Power Megaflex Solar Array. (Credit: ATK)

ARLINGTON, Va., Jan. 21, 2014 (ATK PR) — ATK (NYSE: ATK) demonstrated full deployment of a large MegaFlex™ solar array under a NASA contract to further the development of a high-power system to be used for future robotic and manned exploration missions.

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SLS, Orion Year in Review

At NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, the Orion ground test vehicle has been lifted high in the air by crane in the transfer aisle of the Vehicle Assembly Building. (Credit: NASA/Dimitri Gerondidakis)
At NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, the Orion ground test vehicle has been lifted high in the air by crane in the transfer aisle of the Vehicle Assembly Building. (Credit: NASA/Dimitri Gerondidakis)

Four of the lead contractors working on the Space Launch System and Orion — Aerojet Rocketdyne, ATK, Boeing and Lockheed Martin — issued the following press release last week highlighting progress during 2013. I’ve added photos illustrating some of the major milestones.

Washington, D.C., Jan. 7, 2014 – The NASA Space Launch System (SLS) and Orion teams accomplished unprecedented progress in 2013 with the design, development and testing of the next-generation vehicles destined to explore deep space.

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U.S. Launch Companies at Crossroads in 2014

Cygnus is released from the International Space Station. (Credit: NASA)
Cygnus is released from the International Space Station. (Credit: NASA)

Part 2 of 2

By Douglas Messier
Parabolic Arc Managing Editor

Editor’s Note: In Part 1, we took a look at the highly successful year that all three U.S. launch providers had in 2013.  Today, we will look at the challenges ahead for each company.

Coming off a stellar year, each of America’s three launch providers — Orbital Sciences Corporation, SpaceX and United Launch Alliance (ULA) — finds itself in a distinctly different place and facing unique challenges. The coming year could begin to significantly remake the global launch market, with significant consequences for all three players and rival providers overseas.

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ATK Says It Can Build SLS Boosters Cheaper with Better Peformance

ATK employees at the company's Promontory, Utah facility prepare a segment of a qualification motor for NASA's Space Launch System for transport. (Credit: ATK)
ATK employees at the company’s Promontory, Utah facility prepare a segment of a qualification motor for NASA’s Space Launch System for transport. (Credit: ATK)

Arlington, Va., October 24, 2012 (ATK PR) – ATK (NYSE: ATK) has achieved a significant milestone in its NASA Research Announcement (NRA) Advanced Booster risk-reduction program for the Space Launch System (SLS) by successfully completing filament winding of a pathfinder Advanced Booster composite case. Ultimately, this Advanced Booster NRA effort will enable NASA and ATK to optimize a case design that will be stronger, yet more affordable than traditional steel cases. In turn, this will provide increased payload performance due to reduced weight inherent in composite materials.

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NewSpace Business Plan Competition Set for Oct. 24 at Stanford University

newspace_biz_montage
Silicon Valley, Calif. (SFF PR) —
The Space Frontier Foundation today announced the date and location details of the largest, richest and most exciting NewSpace Business Plan Competition to date.

In years past, this competition has been a part of the Space Frontier Foundation’s NewSpace Conference, however, this year the competition will be a stand-alone event on October 24th, 2013, hosted on the Stanford University campus by the Stanford Student Space Initiative, in conjunction with the Space Frontier Foundation, NASA, ATK and the Heinlein Prize Trust.

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A Closer Look at Orbital Sciences’ Stable of Launch Vehicles

Antares_first_launch
Continuing our look at U.S. launch vehicles, we turn our spotlight onto Orbital Sciences Corporation.  Although the Virginia company is traditionally a supplier of small launch vehicles, it recently made the leap to medium-lift rockets.

Orbital currently operates four launch vehicles:

  • Pegasus, an air-launched solid-fuel vehicle for small satellites;
  • Taurus, a land-based variant of the Pegasus booster with a decommissioned Peacekeeper ballistic missile used as the first stage;
  • Minotaur, a family of small solid-fuel launchers that uses a mixture of decommissioned Peacekeeper and Minuteman II ballistic missile stages and Pegasus and Taurus technology; and,
  • Antares, a new medium-class, liquid-fuel booster developed under NASA’s Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) program that will launch Cygnus freighters to the International Space Station.

The company also is developing a new air-launched rocket nicknamed Pegasus II for Paul Allen’s Stratolaunch Systems company. This new medium launch vehicle is set to make its debut flight in 2016.

Let’s now take a closer look at Orbital’s programs. The launch history tables below are adapted from Wikipedia.

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ATK Gets Contract for Stratolaunch Propulsion System

stratolaunch_booster
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.

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NewSpace Business Plan Competition Offering $135K in Prize Money

sff_logoFremont, California, June 27, 2013 (SFF PR) — With $135,000 in prizes, more industry support than ever before, and a new location and date, the Space Frontier Foundation today announced the details of the largest, richest and most exciting NewSpace Business Plan Competition to date.

In years past, this competition has been a part of the Space Frontier Foundation’s NewSpace Conference, however, this year the competition will be a stand-alone event to be held in the Fall, allowing the Foundation to give this outstanding program its own spotlight. The NewSpace 2013 Conference will be held July 25-27. Both events will be in California’s famed investor hot-spot, Silicon Valley.

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ATK, Air Force Test Fire New Rocket Motor

Large Class Stage I solid rocket motor static test. (Credit: ATK)
Large Class Stage I solid rocket motor static test. (Credit: ATK)

Arlington, Va., June 25, 2013 (ATK PR)  – ATK (NYSE: ATK) and the United States Air Force successfully tested the newly developed Large Class (92-inch diameter) Stage I solid rocket motor May 23 at ATK’s test facilities in Promontory, Utah.

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ATK Solid Rocket Boosters Complete Major Space Launch System Program Milestone

Credit: ATK
Credit: ATK

Arlington, VA., April 25, 2013 (ATK PR) − ATK (NYSE: ATK) has successfully completed its solid rocket booster Preliminary Design Review (PDR) with NASA for the new Space Launch System (SLS). The PDR milestone indicates the booster design is on track to support first flight of the SLS in 2017. The SLS vehicle will support NASA’s human spaceflight exploration to all destinations beyond low-earth orbit.

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DARPA Awards ATK Contract for SeeMe Program

DARPA_logoARLINGTON, Va., April 22, 2013 (ATK PR) — ATK (NYSE: ATK) was awarded a contract to support the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) in Arlington, Va. for the Space Enabled Effects for Military Engagements (SeeMe) program.

SeeMe seeks to develop enabling technologies to provide reliable surveillance data to the warfighter in the field, using small, low-cost satellites that are launched quickly to support the speed of military operations.

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