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ATK Rocket Motors Support the Launch of Gravity Probe-B

  • Thursday, 22nd April 2004
  • Reading time: less than a minute

ATK (Alliant Techsystems) rocket motors and composite technologies supported the recent successful launch of a Boeing Delta II rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California that will place NASA’s Gravity Probe-B spacecraft into orbit.

Gravity Probe-B will measure how space and time are warped by the presence of the Earth, and how the Earth’s rotation drags space-time around with it. The spacecraft will test the predictions of Albert Einstein’s general theory of relativity.

Nine ATK GEM-40 solid propulsion strap-on boosters were used on this launch — continuing a tradition of flight support for Delta II missions that began in 1990. The boosters were manufactured by ATK at its Magna, Utah facility.

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 graphite epoxy cases for the GEM-40 boosters are manufactured by ATK in Clearfield, Utah.

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