ATK (NYSE: ATK) provided critical hardware for the United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V vehicle that launched a first-of-its-kind spacecraft today from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla.
Now on its way to Mars, NASA's MAVEN (Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN) spacecraft will survey the upper atmosphere of the red planet to help scientists understand how the loss of atmospheric gas over time has changed the Martian climate. Lockheed Martin Space Systems (NYSE: LMT) designed and built the MAVEN spacecraft for NASA.
"ATK is proud to support ULA in another successful launch of an Atlas V using our highly engineered composite products," said Joy de Lisser, vice president and general manager of ATK's Aerospace Structures division. "We are continually investing in technology and new product development to meet the emerging needs of our customers."
For the ULA Atlas V rocket, ATK produced the 10-foot diameter composite heat shield, which provides essential protection for the first stage of the launch vehicle. The assembly was fabricated using advanced fiber placement manufacturing techniques at ATK's Iuka, Miss., facility.
The Atlas V rocket flew in the 401 vehicle configuration with a 4-meter fairing. This is the 41st Atlas V launch using ATK-built composite structures.
This flight also marked the sixth successful flight of the ATK retro motors. Eight of these solid motors supported separation of the spent first stage. The Atlas retrorocket is built at ATK's Missile Defense and Controls facility in Elkton, Md.
Additionally, ATK manufactured the fuel and pressurant tanks for the MAVEN spacecraft as well as the reaction control system propellant tank for the Atlas V at its facility in Commerce, Calif.
Source: Lockheed Martin Corporation (NYSE: LMT)
Date: Nov 18, 2013