ATK rocket motor supports successful Antares test flight

Thursday , March 06, 2014 - 11:51 AM


ARLINGTON, Va. — ATK announced Sunday that its CASTOR 30 upper stage solid rocket motor supported the successful test flight of Orbital Sciences Corporation’s Antares launch vehicle with the Cygnus mass simulator payload. The test flight took place at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia on Sunday.

“This is a great day for the Antares team,” said Scott Lehr, vice president and general manager of ATK’s Defense and Commercial Division, in a news release.

“We congratulate Orbital for a successful test flight (Sunday). ATK is proud to be a part of their Antares team,” Lehr said, adding that ATK is looking forward to helping Orbital carry out its first cargo resupply mission to the International Space Station later this year.

ATK’s CASTOR 30 was developed in response to a market need for a large-diameter upper stage motor, according to the news release.

The rocket motor has the flexibility to serve markets as diverse as space launch, prompt global strike and operationally responsive space.

In support of Sunday’s launch, the motor fired for about 153 seconds and produced 73,000 pounds of maximum thrust to loft the Cygnus mass simulator payload into the proper orbit.

The heavily instrumented payload will gather data about the launch environment aboard Antares. Four small “pico satellites” also were deployed from two dispensers that are integrated with the mass simulator.

Orbital has designed, built and tested the Antares medium-class space launch vehicle, and has partnered with NASA to develop the Cygnus cargo spacecraft under NASA’s Commercial Orbital Transportation Services program.

The release states that NASA initiatives are helping develop “a robust U.S. commercial space transportation industry, with the goal of achieving safe, reliable and cost-effective transportation to and from the International Space Station and low-Earth orbit.”

ATK has operations in 21 states, Puerto Rico, and internationally, specializing inaerospace, defense and commercial products.

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