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Composite Structure for Atlas V Launch Vehicle

  • Friday, 23rd February 2001
  • Reading time: about 2 minutes

ATK Aerospace Composite Structures Company, Clearfield, Utah, has delivered the first flight composite structure for the Atlas V family of space launch vehicles to Lockheed Martin Space Systems in Denver, Colo. The composite heat shield, which was produced at ATK’s Utah Composites Center in Clearfield, will be integrated into the first Atlas V launch vehicle at Lockheed Martin’s Waterton Canyon facility just outside of Denver. The heat shield, which measures 10 feet in diameter, mounts to the aft transition structure and surrounds the RD-180 engine at the aft end of the Atlas V vehicle. ATK Aerospace Composite Structures Company was selected by Lockheed Martin in 2000 to produce three separate structures for the Atlas V, which is designed to meet the U.S. Air Force’s Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) requirements. Atlas V will achieve initial launch capability in early 2002. “The delivery of this first Atlas V flight structure represents a significant milestone in what is a major long-term production program for ATK,” said Travis Campbell, president, ATK Aerospace Composite Structures Company. “The fabrication of large, fiber-placed composite structures for aerospace applications is one of ATK’s most important core capabilities. We’re pleased to be able to demonstrate this capability on the Atlas V program, which will make access to space more affordable for both government and commercial customers.” In addition to heat shields, ATK is fabricating composite Centaur interstage adapters (CISAs) and boattails for the Atlas V. Qualification units of those structures were shipped to Lockheed Martin in December 2000, with the first flight units scheduled for delivery in February 2002. Patented manufacturing techniques together with strict and uncompromising attention to process control, schedule, and affordability have made ATK one of the world’s leading manufacturers of composite structures. The company operates more fiber placement machines than any other supplier in the world, and also is an industry leader in both hand laid-up and filament-wound composite structures. ATK Aerospace Composite Structures Company is part of ATK’s Aerospace segment, which comprises the corporation’s propulsion and composite structures operations. The segment employs approximately 2,300 people in California, Colorado, Florida, Mississippi, New York, Utah, and West Virginia. Sales in fiscal year 2000 were $530 million.

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