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News

ATK - Booster Motors on Latest Shuttle Launch

ATK : 11 February, 2008  (Application Story)
Alliant Techsystems' Reusable Solid Rocket Motors (RSRM) and redesigned Booster Separation Motors (BSM) performed flawlessly today as NASA's Space Shuttle Atlantis launched into orbit.
The motors provide the main thrust -- more than 6 million pounds -- to overcome the force of the Earth's gravity allowing the shuttle to reach orbit. The flight will deliver the European Space Agency's Columbus science laboratory module to the International Space Station (ISS), expanding its science capabilities.

This flight marks the first launch of ATK's redesigned Booster Separation Motors (BSMs). As a result of vendor viability and manifest support issues, ATK was requested to assume the responsibility for the manufacture of the separation motors for NASA in 2003. Eight of these small motors are found on each booster; four on the forward section and four on the aft skirt. Once the RSRMs have finished their flight, the eight BSMs are fired to jettison the boosters away from the orbiter and external tank allowing the solid Rocket motors to parachute back down to Earth and be reused.

A design change ATK made to the BSMs was a complete redesign of the igniter. Other changes included material upgrades driven by obsolescence issues and improvements to process and inspection techniques. The redesign effort also took advantage of ATKs state-of-the-art production systems to maintain the overall safety and reliability of the motors not only for the Space Shuttle but for Ares I as well. ATK's redesigned BSMs are flying on the forward section of the solid Rocket boosters on this flight.

STS-122 is the 121st shuttle flight and the 24th 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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