ATK Technologies Support Launch of ULA’s Delta II Rocket from California
NASA’s SMAP Spacecraft Successfully Reaches Orbit
ATK’s contributions to the Delta II and SMAP spacecraft include cutting-edge technologies from across the company, such as three Graphite Epoxy Motors (GEM-40), a large composite fairing for the rocket and heat pipes for the satellite.
“The Delta II has the longest successful track record of any vehicle within the industry, a demonstration of the reliability of the vehicle and the dedication of the team,” said Blake Larson, senior vice president and president of ATK’s Aerospace Group. “ATK’s role on the launch vehicle and spacecraft today highlights the breadth of ATK’s products and showcases our commitment to customer success.”
This launch was the 134th Delta II launch incorporating ATK’s solid rocket motors. ATK has been delivering these strap-on boosters for Delta II missions for the past two decades, providing more than 980 motors. The three boosters used today provided an additional 434,000 pounds maximum thrust to boost ULA’s Delta II launch vehicle on its successful mission. The GEM-40s can be used in three, four or nine-motor configurations, depending on payload requirements.
The Delta II composite structures, manufactured by ATK, provide increased performance through weight reduction. The composite 10-foot diameter payload fairing, which encapsulates and protects the payload, was produced using advanced ATK composite hand layup manufacturing processes at ATK’s facility in Iuka, Mississippi. The composite booster cases were manufactured at ATK’s facilities in Clearfield, Utah.
The launch vehicle’s titanium diaphragm propellant tank and pressurant tank, along with the diaphragm propellant tank for the spacecraft, were manufactured at ATK’s facility in Commerce, California. The solar array composite panel substrates were manufactured at ATK’s San Diego, California, facility.
NASA’s SMAP satellite will provide global measurements of soil moisture and its freeze/thaw state. These measurements will be used to enhance understanding of processes that link the water, energy and carbon cycles, and to extend the capabilities of weather and climate prediction models.
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