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ATK Propulsion and Composite Technology Supports Launch of Japan's H-IIA Rocket

Sep 11, 2002

Minneapolis, Sept. 11, 2002 – ATK (Alliant Techsystems, NYSE: ATK) said four Solid Strap-on Boosters (SSB) developed and produced by ATK Thiokol Propulsion, Promontory, Utah, supported the launch yesterday of a National Space Development Agency of Japan (NASDA) H-IIA from the Tanegashima Space Center in southern Japan.

The H-IIA rocket successfully placed the Data Relay Test Satellite (DRTS) in a geostationary transfer orbit and the Unmanned Space Experiment Recovery System (USERS) in a low-earth orbit. It was the third successful flight of the H-IIA launch vehicle and the second consecutive flight supported by four ATK SSBs.

The SSB is an adaptation of the ATK Thiokol Propulsion CASTOR® IVA-XL strap-on motor, which measures 40 inches in diameter and 483 inches in length, and uses a six-degree canted, fixed nozzle.

ATK Thiokol Propulsion was awarded a development contract in 1997 to adapt the CASTOR IVA-XL motor to the H-IIA vehicle. That was followed by a production contract in 1998 from Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI), Ltd., Nagoya Aerospace Systems, Nagoya, Japan, a major contractor for the H-IIA vehicle.

The H-IIA vehicle currently offers three configurations to compete in the medium-lift launch vehicle market. The standard H-IIA uses a two-stage liquid core vehicle with two Solid Rocket Booster (SRB-A) motors produced by IHI Aerospace of Tomioka, Japan. The two other configurations add two or four SSB motors. The four-SSB configuration was successfully demonstrated during a test flight in February 2002.

ATK Thiokol Propulsion also supplies its TCR™ composite materials and technologies to IHI Aerospace, Ltd for the manufacture of the H-IIA SRB-A motor cases. The company’s rocket motor case and composite technology is present on all H-IIA configurations.

ATK Thiokol Propulsion is the world’s leading supplier of solid propulsion rocket motors. The company’s product portfolio comprises a wide range of first-stage, second stage, and strap-on boosters, including CASTOR IV, CASTOR 120®, GEM, and Orion motors, the Titan IVB Solid Rocket Motor Upgrade (SRMU), and the Space Shuttle Reusable Solid Rocket Motor (RSRM).

ATK is a $2.1 billion aerospace and defense company with leading positions in propulsion, composite structures, munitions, and precision capabilities. The company, which is headquartered in Edina, Minn., employs approximately 11,300 people and has three business groups: Aerospace, Precision Systems, and Ammunition. ATK news and information can be found on the Internet at

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