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ATK Successfully Tests New Solid Rocket Motor for Orbital's Ground-Based Missile Defense System Booster

Dec 5, 2002

Minneapolis, Dec. 5, 2002 – ATK (Alliant Techsystems, NYSE: ATK) has successfully tested a new Orion solid rocket motor that will serve as the first stage of the interceptor booster Orbital Sciences Corporation (NYSE: ORB) is developing for the U.S. Ground-based Missile Defense System (GMDS).

The 70-second static test firing conducted by ATK Thiokol Propulsion, Promontory, Utah, included a demonstration of full nozzle vector capability. The static firing is the only planned ground test of the motor.

"This successful test is a major milestone in a program that will provide our nation with an efficient and cost-effective defense against missile threats," said Scott Lamph, chief engineer, Orion Motor Programs, ATK Thiokol Propulsion.

ATK Thiokol Propulsion was selected earlier this year to be the solid propulsion supplier on the Orbital team that is developing the boost vehicle for Boeing, the prime contractor on the GMDS program.

The three-stage boost vehicle uses slightly modified Orion motors flown on the Orbital Taurus® and Pegasus® launch vehicles, which are manufactured by ATK Thiokol Propulsion at its rocket motor production facility in Magna, Utah.

The first-stage Orion 50SXLG motor is a stretched version of the Taurus motor, similar to the Pegasus XL first-stage motor, but with more solid propellant for increased performance. It includes a more robust nozzle with a shortened exit cone for ground launch capability, and a new Orbital thermal blanket/aft skirt and thrust vector actuation system.

The second and third stages use flight-proven Pegasus XL motors that will not require additional static fire testing.

ATK Composites, Clearfield, Utah, provides the composite cases for the Orion motors.

ATK Thiokol Propulsion is the world’s leading supplier of solid-propellant rocket motors. Products manufactured by the company include propulsion systems for the Delta, Pegasus, Taurus, Athena, Atlas, H-IIA, and Titan IV B expendable space launch vehicles, NASA’s Space Shuttle, the Trident II Fleet Ballistic and the Minuteman III Intercontinental Ballistic Missile, and ground-based missile defense interceptors.

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 11,500 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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