Delta IV Heavy Capability to be Augmented by Orbital ATK Third Stage
DULLES, Va.Apr. 3, 2015--
Orbital ATK (NYSE: OA) is teamed with United Launch Alliance (ULA) to
launch NASA s Solar Probe Plus (SPP) mission on ULA s Delta IV Heavy
rocket. A fully integrated third stage provided by Orbital ATK will give
the spacecraft the high-energy boost needed to send it on its mission to
study the Sun s outer atmosphere.
Orbital ATK s third stage leverages flight-proven inertial navigation,
avionics, attitude control and separation systems used on the company s
Pegasus , Minotaur and Minotaur-C launch vehicles. The
venerable STARTM 48BV rocket motor, which traces its roots
back to the 1980s, will provide the propulsion. The STAR 48 motor series
has logged more than 130 successful missions.
One of Orbital ATK s strengths is providing new launch capabilities
that leverage flight-proven subsystems, said Ron Grabe, President of
Orbital ATK s Flight Systems Group. We are proud to team with ULA to
augment the Delta IV Heavy for this very challenging mission.
After separating from the launch vehicle s second stage, Orbital ATK s
third stage motor will ignite and accelerate the SPP spacecraft, making
it one of the fastest man-made objects in history. During the motor s
nominal burn time of 81 seconds, Orbital ATK s flight computer and
guidance control system will guide the SPP observatory on its way to an
elliptical orbit around the Sun. The observatory, using several gravity
assists from Venus, will ultimately pass within 10 solar radii of the
Sun, many times closer to the sun than the planet Mercury.
The Orbital ATK stage is being designed specifically to support the
challenging SPP mission. When vertically integrated, it will measure
approximately seven feet tall and four-and-a-half feet in diameter. The
stage will be developed at the company s facilities in Dulles, Virginia;
Chandler, Arizona; and Elkton, Maryland.
In addition to the third stage, Orbital ATK s contributions to the Delta
IV Heavy launch vehicle include cutting-edge technologies from across
the company. These include 12 key composite structures, manufactured
using advanced layup, machining and inspection techniques in Iuka,
Mississippi, and Clearfield, Utah; the RS-68 rocket engine s nozzle,
manufactured in Promontory, Utah; the booster separation rocket motors,
manufactured in Rocket Center, West Virginia; and the diaphragm
propellant tanks, manufactured in Commerce, California.
The SPP mission, which will enter the Sun s outer atmosphere to study
the streams of charged particles the Sun hurls into space, is scheduled
to launch in 2018. The SPP spacecraft is being developed at the Johns
Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland. SPP is part of
NASA s Living with a Star program, managed by NASA s Goddard Space
Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, for the Science Mission
Directorate at NASA Headquarters, Washington, D.C.
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 more than 12,000 people in 20 states across the U.S. and in
several international locations. For more information, visit www.orbitalatk.com.
Source: Orbital ATK, Inc.
Orbital ATK, Inc.
Flight Systems Group
Orbital ATK, Inc.
Barron Beneski, 703-406-5528