Orbital ATK-Designed and -Built Spacecraft Advanced Understanding of
Planetary Formation in the Solar System
Dawn Project Team Received Prestigious Awards for Historic Mission
DULLES, Va.Jun. 30, 2016--
ATK, Inc. (NYSE: OA), a global leader in aerospace and defense
technologies, today celebrates the achievements of NASA s Dawn deep
space exploration spacecraft as it successfully completes its primary
mission. Designed and built by Orbital ATK, Dawn is in the ninth year of
its historic journey, which is advancing human understanding of
planetary formation and revealing new mysteries of the solar system.
The dwarf planet Ceres is shown, including bright features revealed by Dawn at the Occator Crater that continue to spark scientific investigation. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCAL/MPS/DLR/IDA
Dawn s successful, interplanetary mission is a testament to the
ingenuity and dedication of the entire JPL-led mission team and NASA,
said Frank Culbertson, President of Orbital ATK s Space Systems Group.
Orbital ATK designed and built Dawn more than 10 years ago, relying on
our flight-proven Earth science and communication technology, and our
extensive space systems expertise. The result has been a spacecraft that
exceeded all of its major milestones during its primary mission. We are
incredibly proud to be a part of this team.
Dawn is the first mission of its kind, relying on solar electric ion
propulsion, the world s most advanced and efficient space propulsion
technology, to travel to and orbit two interplanetary bodies in the main
asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.
Orbital ATK s Space Systems Group designed and built Dawn at the
company s facilities in Dulles, Virginia. Launched from Cape Canaveral,
Florida in September 2007, Dawn embarked on a two-stop, interplanetary
mission. During its nearly decade-long journey, Dawn traveled more than
3.5 billion miles or the equivalent of 140,000 trips around Earth s
equator. It delivered troves of important data to scientists worldwide
with the first-ever, up-close look at two planetary bodies that date
back to the formation of the solar system. In recognition of these
achievements, the Dawn Project Team received prestigious awards,
including the 2015 Robert J. Collier Trophy and the 2016 National Space
Club s Nelson P. Jackson Award.
In July 2011, Dawn reached its first destination, Vesta, the second most
massive object in the main asteroid belt. It spent nearly 14 months
orbiting and mapping Vesta, returning more than 30,000 images and other
measurements of the protoplanet. In September 2012, Dawn departed Vesta
in pursuit of its second destination, the dwarf planet Ceres, previously
known as the largest unexplored world of the inner solar system. Dawn
entered orbit around Ceres in March 2015. Since then, Dawn has returned
nearly 40,000 images of intriguing topographical features, including the
now-famous bright areas believed to be salt concentrations on the
surface of Ceres. The quality of all images collected from both Vesta
and Ceres substantially exceeded resolution previously available from
the ground-based W.M. Keck Observatory and NASA s Hubble Space
Telescope. In fact, many of the images Dawn returned are more than 800
times the resolution available from Hubble observations.
Dawn allowed us to become acquainted with two uncharted celestial
bodies, each of which will help scientists better understand the origin
of our solar system, said Joe Makowski, Orbital ATK s Dawn Program
Manager. The Dawn spacecraft and instruments proved their mettle
throughout the primary mission, enabling great science in deep space.
Dawn's mission is managed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory for NASA's
Science Mission Directorate in Washington. Dawn is a project of the
directorate's Discovery Program, which is managed by NASA's Marshall
Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. The University of California
at Los Angeles (UCLA) is responsible for overall Dawn mission science.
The German Aerospace Center, the Max Planck Institute for Solar System
Research, the Italian Space Agency and the Italian National
Astrophysical Institute are international partners on the mission team.
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, Inc.
Orbital ATK, Inc.
Vicki Cox, 410-409-8723
Systems Group Public Relations
Barron Beneski, 703-406-5528
Public and Investor