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Shuttle launch aided by solid rocket motor propulsion

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: 13 March, 2008  (Application Story)
Booster separation motors from ATK have made a second flight on the Space Shuttle, providing more thrust than twenty six jumbo jets.
ATK Reusable Solid Rocket Motors (RSRM) and the company's Booster Separation
Motors (BSM) have helped NASA's STS-123 Space Shuttle
Endeavour launch. The RSRMs provided more than six million pounds of thrust
-- equivalent to 26 jumbo jets at full take-off throttle -- to allow the
shuttle to reach orbit.

Once the RSRMs finished their flight, eight BSMs -- four on the forward
section and four on the aft skirt -- fired to jettison the RSRMs away from
the orbiter and external tank, and allowed the Rocket motors to parachute
back down to Earth and be reused. ATK's BSMs are flying on the forward
section of the RSRMs. This flight marks the second launch of ATK's BSMs. The
inaugural flight was on NASA's Space Shuttle Atlantis on Feb 7.

ATK began manufacturing the BSMs for NASA in 2003. The company redesigned the
igniter and made other material upgrades to the BSMs to improve safety and
reliability. The new design takes full advantage of ATK's state-of-the-art
production systems. The BSMs will be used for the remainder of the Space
Shuttle flights as well as future flights of NASA's next-generation human
launch vehicle, the Ares I.

On this mission Endeavour will deliver the first of two pressurized sections
of the Japanese 'Kibo' Experiment Logistics Module, and the Canadian 'Dextre'
robotics system to the International Space Station (ISS). The Kibo complex
will be completed in May when Space Shuttle Discovery launches its second
pressurized section. 'Kibo' is the Japanese word for hope. 'Dextre' is the
Canadian Space Agency's newest contribution to the station. Its full name is
the Special Purpose Dexterous Manipulator, and it will attach to the
station's robotic arm, Candarm2, and allow astronauts to replace hardware
outside the station without doing a spacewalk.

STS-123 is the 122nd Shuttle flight and the 25th 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 United States.
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