Alliant Techsystems solid propulsion and composite technologies supported the recent successful launch of a Boeing Delta II rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla.
The launch successfully placed the first modernized NAVSTAR Block IIR military navigation satellite into orbit for the U.S. Air Force’s Global Positioning System (GPS) constellation.
Nine GEM-40 solid propulsion strap-on boosters provided augmented thrust for the launch. The mission marked the 100th flight of the Delta II launch vehicle using GEM-40 motors and composite rocket motor casings manufactured by ATK – continuing a tradition of flight support that began in 1990.
The filament-wound solid rocket motor cases and composite payload fairing, which protects the satellite during launch, are produced by ATK. ATK also build cases for other space launch vehicles, including Delta, Titan IVB, Pegasus, and Taurus. The composite cases are up to 60 in. diameter and up to 42.5 ft in length. Over 950 cases have been delivered with production now in its seventeenth year. ATK also produce composite filament-wound igniter casings, aeroskirts and nose cones.
Six of the boosters ignited at lift-off with the first-stage main engine. Just over a minute later, the remaining three boosters ignited to provide additional thrust.
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 satellite into a transfer orbit. A STAR 37FM apogee kick motor will provide the added velocity to place the satellite into its final inclination and circular orbit.
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