Southern Manufacturing

ATK Composites Help Launch Global Positioning Satellite Aboard Boeing Delta II Rocket

25 June 2004

ATK solid propulsion and composite technologies supported this weeks successful launch of a Boeing Delta II rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

The launch successfully placed into orbit the 12th Class IIR satellite for the U.S. Air Force's Global Positioning System (GPS IIR-12) constellation. All 24 of the current GPS satellites were launched with the help of ATK rocket motors.

Augmented thrust for the launch was provided by nine GEM-40 solid propulsion strap-on boosters manufactured by ATK Thiokol at its facility in Magna, Utah -- continuing a tradition of flight support for Delta II missions that began in 1990.

Six of the boosters ignited at lift-off with the first-stage main engine. Less than a minute later, the remaining three boosters ignited to provide additional thrust. The spent motors were jettisoned from the rocket as it continued its ascent.

The graphite epoxy cases for the GEM-40 boosters are manufactured by ATK Composites, Clearfield, Utah. The facility also builds cases for other space launch vehicles, including Delta, Titan IVB, Pegasus, and Taurus.

Following burnout and separation of the GEM-40 boosters and the rocket's liquid second stage, a STAR(TM) 48B third-stage rocket motor propelled the GPS replacement satellite into orbit. A STAR 37FM(TM) apogee kick motor provided the added velocity to place the satellite into its final inclination and circular orbit.

ATK Elkton, Elkton, Md., has manufactured every launch vehicle upper stage and apogee kick motor for the NAVSTAR/GPS constellation dating back to the original experimental flights in the late 1970s.

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