Orbital ATK Ships Fuel and Oxidizer Tanks for NASA's JWST

Orbital ATK, Inc. (NYSE:OA), a global leader in aerospace and defense technologies, announced its Space Components Division (SCD) shipped the fuel and oxidizer tanks to Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE: NOC) in Redondo Beach, California for integration into NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope (JWST). These tanks will provide propulsion for JWST, which is the successor to the Hubble Space Telescope. The tank shipment comes after a successful qualification program in which a tank was pressurized to failure following a grueling qualification test sequence. The tank’s Propellant Management Device (PMD), designed to provide gas-free propellant in a low-gravity environment and reduce telescope residual motion, was successfully slosh tested (ensuring survivability) for four months prior to manufacture and installation into the tanks.

“The design, manufacture and test of these tanks shows the commitment and expertise that we provide to our Northrop Grumman customer and ultimately, NASA,” said David Shanahan, Vice President and General Manager of Orbital ATK’s SCD. “We are proud that our work contributes to the James Webb Space Telescope program; the ultimate reward is delivering a high quality product to the mission.”

The two tanks were designed and manufactured at Orbital ATK’s Commerce, California facility, known for the production of tanks for many NASA programs as well as commercial and military spacecraft and launch vehicles. The PMD with the unique slosh-damping feature was designed and analyzed by PMD Technology, the foremost designer of low-gravity fluid dynamics acquisition devices, and manufactured by Orbital ATK specifically for the JWST.

“The delivery of the JWST propellant tanks showed exemplary collaboration between ATK, Northrop Grumman and NASA and accomplished a significant milestone in our Spacecraft build and test program,” said Andy Cohen, Director and JWST Spacecraft Manager for Northrop Grumman.

Not only will JWST be a large infrared telescope with a 6.5-meter primary mirror, it will be the most powerful space telescope ever built. It will launch on an Ariane 5 rocket from French Guiana in October 2018.

Serving thousands of astronomers worldwide, JWST will be the premier observatory of the next decade. It will study every phase in the history of the universe: to see the first light of the universe, watch galaxies collide, see stars and planets being born, find and study exoplanets and study our own solar system.

Source: Orbital ATK, Inc.
Date: Sep 22, 2015