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ATK Composite Structures Supports Launch of Atlas V Rocket

  • Friday, 1st August 2003
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ATK (Alliant Techsystems) composite structures technology supported the July 17th launch of a Lockheed Martin Atlas V 521 rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla. The launch successfully placed into orbit the Rainbow 1 direct broadcasting spacecraft for Cablevision’s RLDBS project, which will fly using two ATK reflectors and one subreflector.

Lockheed Martin Space Systems built the Atlas V and Rainbow 1 satellite at its facilities in Denver, Colo., and Newtown, Pa., respectively.

ATK Composites, Clearfield, Utah, produced a number of significant structures for the Atlas V core vehicle using both automated fiber placement and advanced hand layup manufacturing techniques. These structures include the 11-foot diameter heat shield assembly surrounding the RD-180 main engine, the 12.5-foot diameter Centaur Interstage Adapter (CISA), and the 17.5-foot diameter conical Boattail joining the core vehicle and the payload fairing. The parts are fabricated at the company’s Utah Composites Center in Clearfield and Southern Composites Center in Iuka, Miss.

The Rainbow 1 satellite will perform its mission equipped with solar panels and three of its reflectors built by ATK’s Composite Optics Inc. in San Diego. The reflectors, some of the largest of their type ever built by ATK, are fabricated from carbon-fiber composites and range in size up to 132″” x 144″”.

“”The successful launch and the content onboard the Rainbow 1 satellite dramatically demonstrate ATK’s rigorous disciplines in quality and process control and are a tribute to the viability of automated manufacturing technologies developed by ATK for high-performance applications,”” said Jeff Foote, group vice president, Aerospace. “”We are pleased with our record on the Atlas V program and are dedicated to continued success with launch vehicles and space platforms.””

The launch was the third mission for the Atlas V rocket, the largest and most powerful member of the Atlas family of launch vehicles. Lockheed Martin developed the Atlas V to meet the needs of the U.S. Air Force’s Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) program and the growing needs of the company’s joint venture, International Launch Services (ILS), for its commercial and government satellite customers throughout the world.


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