Integrated ATK Products Enable Improved Global Positioning on Earth

Integrated ATK (NYSE: ATK) hardware contributed to the successful launch of both the United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V vehicle and the GPS satellite launched today from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida.

Now in geosynchronous orbit above the Earth, the seventh GPS IIF satellite in the constellation will replace older, first-generation GPS satellites and provide improved accuracy, signal strength and quality to America’s warfighters, allies and civilian users worldwide. Boeing (NYSE: BA) designed and built the GPS IIF satellite for the U.S. Air Force.

“The Atlas V and GPS programs encompass the scope and scale of ATK’s highly engineered products and affordable innovation,” said Blake Larson, President, ATK Aerospace Group. “Both military and civilian GPS users around the world will benefit from increased capability as a result of our team’s collective dedication and execution excellence.”

The ATK components, in both the Atlas V launch vehicle and satellite, utilize the latest, cutting-edge technology across multiple divisions. These include large composite structures, retro motors, state-of-the art solar arrays and other critical components on the GPS IIF satellite.

For the ULA Atlas V rocket, ATK produced the 10-foot diameter composite heat shield, which provides higher performance with lower weight, and essential protection for the first stage of the launch vehicle from engine exhaust temperatures in excess of 4,000 degrees Fahrenheit. The assembly was fabricated using advanced fiber placement manufacturing techniques at ATK's Iuka, Mississippi facility. This is the 45th Atlas V launch using ATK-built composite structures.

This launch also marked the twelfth successful flight of ATK produced 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, Maryland.

The Boeing GPS IIF-7 satellite provides space-based system global location and time information in all weather conditions. Military and civilian mission success for the GPS program is vital, as are the components that support operations of the satellites.

One of the most critical aspects of the satellite is ensuring there is power for operations. The GPS IIF features ATK solar arrays, deployable boom and composite solar array substrates powering the satellite.  Produced at facilities in both Goleta and San Diego, California, ATK has achieved 100 percent on-orbit success on all solar arrays and deployable systems delivered and launched to date.

Other technologies utilized on the satellite include a state-of-the-art titanium ullage tank assembly, including the blankets, heaters, thermistors and pressurant lines manufactured at ATK’s Commerce, California facility. ATK’s Rancho Bernardo, California facility performed final assembly and unique Radio Frequency (RF) testing of the antenna suite for GPS IIF.

As a leader in space thermal control technology, ATK provided heat pipes for the GPS IIF equipment and radiator panels that deliver high capacity thermal performance for efficient payload and bus operation. Designed and manufactured at ATK’s Beltsville, Maryland facility, the company has delivered over 50,000 heat pipes to the space industry with perfect on-orbit mission success record.

Source: Alliant Tech Systems, Inc (ATK) (NYSE: ATK)
Date: Aug 7, 2014