Second Qualification Motor for NASA s Space Launch System Moves Space
Agency Closer to Deep Space Exploration
PROMONTORY, UtahJun. 28, 2016--
Orbital ATK (NYSE: OA), a global leader in aerospace and defense
technologies, in partnership with NASA, today successfully completed the
second of two booster qualification motor tests (QM-2) for NASA s Space
Launch System (SLS). Preliminary data indicate the motor performed well
and provided the necessary data toward meeting our test objectives.
Orbital ATK successfully conducted the QM-2 test of its solid rocket booster for NASA's Space Launch System (SLS) at its Promontory, UT facility. The test verified the booster's low temperature performance. Two solid rocket boosters will be used for each SLS mission, the first of which is scheduled for late 2018. Photo Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls
Orbital ATK developed the two five-segment rocket boosters for NASA s
SLS, a heavy-lift rocket designed to enable exciting new deep space
exploration missions. For today s test, Orbital ATK technicians
pre-chilled the QM-2 motor over the past month to 40 degrees Fahrenheit
in order to test its lower temperature capabilities against the expected
temperature range in which SLS may operate. The first qualification
motor, QM-1, completed a successful test last spring that validated
motor performance at the upper end of the propellant temperature range
(90 degrees Fahrenheit).
The NASA and Orbital ATK team has done an extraordinary job of
collaborating to make this test a success, said Charlie Precourt,
general manager and vice president of Orbital ATK s Propulsion Systems
Division. SLS is America s rocket, and it is very exciting to know
Orbital ATK s boosters will play a big part in launching our astronauts
out of Earth s gravity and on to deep space.
Lying horizontally in the test stand, the QM-2 motor is 154 feet in
length and 12 feet in diameter and is the world s largest human-rated
solid rocket motor in existence. These boosters produce 3.6 million
pounds of maximum thrust, more thrust than 14 747-400 jets produce at
full takeoff power. The flame exits the motor at Mach 3 and burns for a
full 126 seconds. Orbital ATK and NASA will use test measurements from
more than 530 data channels to analyze motor performance, acoustics,
motor vibrations, nozzle modifications, insulation upgrades, Booster
Separation Motor structural dynamic response and nozzle vectoring
Based on the design heritage of the flight-proven solid rocket boosters
used on NASA s Space Shuttle, the SLS five-segment motors incorporate
new technologies and updated materials. Orbital ATK is also providing
critical propulsion technology for the astronaut safety system aboard
the Orion spacecraft, which includes the launch abort motor and attitude
control motor. The SLS, along with the Orion spacecraft, provides a
flexible deep space exploration platform to take humans and cargo to
multiple destinations across our solar system.
The building blocks for NASA s journey to Mars are in place and are
gathering strong momentum, said Precourt, a four-time space shuttle
veteran. I am proud that our company s technology will be a vital part
of the SLS program s success and of our team s important contributions
to the next chapter in man s exploration of space.
The first test flight of SLS and Orion together, called Exploration
Mission-1 (EM-1), will be uncrewed and is scheduled for late 2018.
During EM-1, SLS will use two of Orbital ATK s five-segment solid rocket
boosters. Orbital ATK has 29 key SLS booster suppliers across 16 states
including Alabama, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Indiana, Kentucky,
Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio,
Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah and Wisconsin.
About Orbital ATK
Orbital ATK is a global leader in aerospace and defense technologies.
The company designs, builds and delivers space, defense and aviation
systems for customers around the world, both as a prime contractor and
merchant supplier. Its main products include launch vehicles and related
propulsion systems; missile products, subsystems and defense
electronics; precision weapons, armament systems and ammunition;
satellites and associated space components and services; and advanced
aerospace structures. Headquartered in Dulles, Virginia, Orbital ATK
employs approximately 12,000 people in 18 states across the U.S. and in
several international locations. For more information, visit www.orbitalatk.com.
Source: Orbital ATK
Kay Anderson, 435-230-2787
Systems Public Relations
Barron Beneski, 703-406-5528
Public and Investor