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Composite Technologies Aid Delta II Launch

  • Wednesday, 14th October 2009
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Alliant Techsystems composites were involved in the successful launch of a United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket for The Boeing Company.

Nine ATK GEM-40 solid propulsion strap-on boosters, made using composite materials, provided augmented thrust for the launch; six of which are ignited at lift-off with the first-stage main engine, the remaining three ignited to provide additional thrust.

ATK manufactured the GEM-40 motors at its facility in Magna, Utah, continuing a tradition of flight support for Delta II missions that began in 1990. The composite cases for the GEM-40 boosters were produced at ATK’s Clearfield, Utah, facility and are made of graphite epoxy material using an automated filament winding process the company developed and refined through its 50-year heritage in composite manufacturing.

The 10-foot diameter composite payload fairing, encapsulating the payload, was fabricated by ATK’s Iuka, Mississippi facility. The fairing was produced using advanced composite hand layup manufacturing, machining, and inspection techniques. This was the 18th ATK-built fairing flown on a Delta II mission.

In addition to hardware on the launch vehicle, ATK provided hardware for the satellite. ATK’s facility in Commerce, Calif., supplied an off-the-shelf 40-inch diameter propellant tank to Ball Aerospace for the WorldView-2 program. The propellant tank contains an elastomeric diaphragm which will provide active propellant management throughout the mission.


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