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News

ATK - Contract for Orion Launch Abort Motors


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ATK
: 10 July, 2007  (Company News)
Alliant Techsystems has received a $62.5 million contract from Orbital Sciences Corporation for the main abort motor of the NASA Orion crew exploration vehicle Launch Abort System (LAS). NASA's Orion will succeed the Space Shuttle in transporting humans to and from the International Space Station, as well as carrying crews to the Moon and eventually Mars.
Under the terms of the contract, ATK will design, develop, produce, test and deliver the launch abort motor (LAM), the largest of three propulsion units integrated into the LAS. The contract includes four full-scale static test units and eight deliverable motors to Orbital for pathfinders, test flights and program support. Orbital is subcontracted to Lockheed Martin who is the prime contractor for Orion.

'The LAS is a critical system that allows the astronaut crew to safely separate from the launch vehicle in the event of an emergency during launch pad operations and ascent,' said Mike Kahn, ATK vice president of Space Launch Systems. 'We have the necessary skills and experience to support Orbital in the development of this vital capability.'

The LAM is not a conventional solid Rocket motor; it is a reverse flow motor with four nozzles mounted on the forward end. Once ignited, the LAM produces over a half-million pounds of thrust, pulling the crew module away from the launch vehicle within milliseconds of notification. ATK has conducted three sub-scale static tests of the reverse flow motor. Two additional sub-scale tests for Orbital are planned this summer.

ATK is the world's leading supplier of solid Rocket motors. It is the only solid propulsion supplier that has been involved on all U.S. human-rated missions, including Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, and the Space Shuttle. The company's solid Rocket portfolio ranges from 3-inch diameter spin motors to the Space Shuttle's reusable solid Rocket motors.
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