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News

ATK Supports Space Shuttle


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ATK
: 09 December, 2006  (New Product)
ATK reusable solid rocket motors (RSRM) performed flawlessly as NASA's Space Shuttle Discovery launched into orbit to begin a 13-day mission to the International Space Station (ISS). During the first two minutes of flight, the RSRMs provided more than 6 million pounds of thrust.
In addition to supporting the launch, ATK mission-critical hardware will play a central role in the success of the mission. On Flight Day 5, an ATK-designed Folding Articulated Square Truss (FAST) Mast will be retracted for the first time since being installed on the ISS six years ago. The FAST Mast supports the station's P6 solar arrays that generate electrical power. When fully deployed, the FAST Mast structure is more than 115 feet long. Once retracted, the FAST Mast will fit inside an 8 foot canister.

During the mission, the port-side solar array of the P6 pair -- installed on ISS in 2000 -- will be retracted into its canister. This will enable the P4 solar arrays -- installed on STS-115 -- to rotate freely without interference, and automatically track the sun. This rotation is enabled by the Solar Alpha Rotary Joint (SARJ), designed and built by Lockheed Martin, which utilizes ATK- designed bearing technology.

On a future assembly mission, astronauts will reposition the P6 solar arrays and once again use ATK's FAST Mast to extend them to their operational length. This will allow the ISS to generate sufficient power once assembly is complete. ATK designed the FAST Mast to fully retract and deploy the solar arrays 35 times during the expected 15-year on-orbit life.

This shuttle flight is the 116th shuttle flight and the 20th U.S. flight to the ISS. ATK solid Rocket motors have flown on each Space Shuttle mission since the inception of the program in 1981, and today are the only human-rated solid Rocket motors produced in the U.S.
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