Alliant Techsystems (ATK) rocket motor and composite technologies supported the successful launch of a Boeing Delta II rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.
The launch successfully placed the NOAA-N civilian weather satellite into polar orbit for NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The satellite is critical to advancing global earth observation and will help improve weather and climate forecasts as well as U.S. search and rescue operations.
Three graphite epoxy cases for the GEM-40 solid propulsion strap-on boosters provided additional thrust for the launch – continuing a tradition of flight support that began in 1990. All three of the boosters ignited at lift-off with the first-stage main engine and burned for just over one minute.
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.
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