Alliant Techsystems workers believe the results from recent ground testing show their Utah-built rocket motor is ready to roll.
But is the U.S. Congress ready to rock with the ATK rocket?
That question remains unanswered, as lawmakers will take up the financial future of the space program after the November election.
But on Wednesday, ATK announced it could send its second fully developed motor into the air, if needed.
After reviewing the data, company officials are confident the next-generation rocket motor performed as designed during the Aug. 31 test in Promontory.
"These extensive test results confirm the ATK five-segment solid rocket motor is ready for flight testing," said Charlie Precourt, vice president of Space Launch Systems, ATK Aerospace Systems.
Among the long-term issues scrutinized in the testing were the performance of the O-rings, thrust oscillation and a leaner, greener configuration ATK hopes will convince detractors its motor should be in the next heavy launch vehicle for the U.S. space program.
On the line are ATK's remaining Top of Utah jobs -- more than 1,000 employees who work in the motor program originally designed for the NASA rocket program titled Ares.
NASA officials agreed the second test of the ATK product showed no major concerns after the motor was subjected to artificially induced cold conditions before being fired up.
"It performed well," said Andy Schorr, a lead Ares Project engineer at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala.
Another ground test is tentatively planned for next fall, despite ATK's pronouncement that its portion of the rocket could fly.
Schorr said they could see in the next test how high heat would affect the motor and its segments, thus giving NASA a wider temperature window to launch a rocket.
"This (test) could expand our launch availability," he said.
Early on in the development of the Ares line, concerns were raised within NASA about how much the new rocket might shake after being fired up, or how "excitable" it is. The technical term is "thrust oscillation."
A second issue that has been watched since the fatal Challenger shuttle accident in 1986 is the safety development of the O-ring joints between segments.
NASA and ATK say both items are progressing as designed.
New low-temperature O-rings in the Ares line enabled the elimination of joint heaters and the associated cabling and infrastructure.
ATK also believes test results show thrust oscillation was significantly better than initial models predicted.
The company says engineers learned that the behavior attributed to thrust oscillations in five-segment solid rocket motors is 30 to 60 percent less than previously predicted, indicating the motor is "quiet" or producing very low-pressure oscillations.
Also in the mix is new rubber-like insulation and liner for the segments that is made of environmentally friendly material that replaces the asbestos-based insulation used on previous company configurations.
ATK said the 30-day findings from the summer ground test were compared with data collected from the first ground test in September 2009 and the Ares I-X flight test in October 2009.
President Barack Obama and Congress have not yet fully agreed on the future of Ares, as the debate continues regarding who and what powers the next line of launch vehicles.
But the money, along with supportive language, to fund Ares as part the NASA space exploration program is temporarily in place and awaits approval in the appropriation process in Congress.