Rocket booster components manufactured at ATK’s Clearfield facility helped launch another NASA satellite Wednesday morning.
ATK technologies contributed to the longest consecutive record of successful launches within the industry as a United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket lifted off from Vandenberg Air Force Base carrying NASA’s Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2.
ATK’s contributions to the Delta II and OCO-2 observatory include cutting-edge technologies from across the company. Contributions include the three Graphite Epoxy Motors, large composite fairing for the rocket and state-of-the art solar arrays and heat pipes for the observatory.
“The Delta II has a proven track record of delivering critical missions for its customers” said Blake Larson, Senior Vice President and President of ATK’s Aerospace Group. “Today’s launch showcases the breadth of ATK’s product line and the reliability that ensures mission success for our customers.”
ATK has contributed 987 solid rocket boosters to support Delta II missions. These solid propulsion strap-on boosters provided an additional 434,000 pounds maximum thrust to boost ULA’s Delta II launch vehicle on its successful mission. The GEM-40s can be used in three, four or nine-motor configurations, depending on payload requirements.
The Delta II composite structures, manufactured by ATK, provide increased performance through weight reduction. The ATK-developed manufacturing process for the three composite GEM-40 booster cases uses an automated winding process of graphite epoxy filament. The composite 10-foot diameter payload fairing, which encapsulates and protects the payload, was produced using advanced ATK composite hand layup manufacturing processes, machining and inspection techniques. The booster cases and payload fairing were manufactured at ATK’s facilities in Clearfield, Utah and Iuka, Mississippi.
The launch vehicle’s titanium diaphragm propellant tanks and pressurant tank were manufactured at ATK’s facility in Commerce, California.
For NASA’s OCO-2 observatory, ATK produced the Variable Conductance Heat Pipes. The VCHPs are an integral part of the instrument’s thermal control system. These components are designed and manufactured at ATK’s Beltsville, Maryland, facility, which has delivered more than 50,000 heat pipes to the space industry with perfect, on-orbit mission success.
ATK’s reliable solar arrays and solar array substrates that power the observatory were manufactured at ATK’s Goleta and San Diego, California facilities. To date, the company has achieved 100 percent, on-orbit success on all solar arrays and deployable systems delivered and launched.
NASA’s OCO-2 is a single instrument that flies on a dedicated spacecraft. The instrument, consisting of three high-resolution grating spectrometers, will acquire precise measurements of atmospheric carbon dioxide.