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ATK Propulsion and Composite Technologies Support Launch of New GPS Satellite Aboard Delta II Rocket

26 March 2004

ATK (Alliant Techsystems) solid propulsion and composite technologies supported the recent successful launch of a Boeing Delta II rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, that successfully placed into orbit the 11th Class 2R satellite for the U.S. Air Force’s Global Positioning System (GPS 2R-11) constellation.

Augmented thrust for the launch was provided by nine GEM-40 solid propulsion strap-on boosters manufactured by ATK Thiokol Propulsion 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 48B third-stage rocket motor propelled the GPS replacement satellite into an elliptical orbit.