ATK Composite and Propulsion Technologies Help Launch NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander
ATK ULTRAFLEX SOLAR ARRAYS DEPLOY TO POWER PHOENIX MARS LANDER
ATK FACILITIES IN MARYLAND, CALIFORNIA AND UTAH SUPPORTED PROJECT
MINNEAPOLIS, Aug. 7 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Alliant Techsystems (NYSE: ATK) composite and propulsion technologies supported the successful launch of the Delta II rocket carrying NASA's Phoenix Mars lander spacecraft. The Phoenix Mars lander spacecraft is the first of NASA's Scout missions. The Phoenix is designed to analyze the ice and soil samples retrieved by the robotic arm from the Martian arctic's ice-rich soil.
ATK's UltraFlex solar arrays, a unique technology developed by the company's Goleta, CA facility, will deploy for the first time in space to provide power for the Phoenix lander. The pair of UltraFlex wings will deploy unassisted and unfold like individual fans into circular shapes 2.1 meters in diameter. Each solar array is capable of generating 770 watts from sunlight and was selected for its low mass and stowed volume characteristics.
ATK also provided its CoilABLE boom to deploy the Surface Stereo Imager camera on the Phoenix. This coiled boom structure will lift the camera payload, weighing about 4 times its weight, to a height of 27 inches above the lander deck. The boom design shares heritage with the one used on the Mars Pathfinder lander in 1997.
Phoenix was launched by a United Launch Alliance Delta II vehicle. Nine GEM-40 solid propulsion strap-on boosters, manufactured in ATK's Salt Lake City, Utah facility provided augmented thrust for the launch. ATK's Clearfield, Utah facility produced the composite cases for the GEM-40 boosters using an automated filament winding process. Six of the boosters ignited at lift-off with the first-stage main engine and provided over 850,000 pound maximum thrust for the launch vehicle. Just over one minute later, the remaining three boosters ignited to provide an additional 450,000 pound maximum thrust. The spent motors were jettisoned from the rocket as it continued its ascent.
Following burnout and separation of the GEM-40 boosters and the rocket's liquid second stage, an ATK-produced STAR™ 48B third-stage rocket motor fired at approximately 82 minutes into flight to provide the Earth-escape velocity required to send the Phoenix spacecraft on its way to Mars.
ATK is a $4.0 billion advanced weapon and space systems company employing approximately 16,500 people in 21 states. News and information can be found on the Internet at http://www.atk.com/.
Certain information discussed in this press release constitutes forward- looking statements as defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Although ATK believes that the expectations reflected in such forward-looking statements are based on reasonable assumptions, it can give no assurance that its expectations will be achieved. Forward-looking information is subject to certain risks, trends and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those projected. Among those factors are: challenges associated with developing advanced precision munitions, changes in governmental spending, budgetary policies and product sourcing strategies; the company's competitive environment; the terms and timing of awards and contracts; and economic conditions. ATK undertakes no obligation to update any forward-looking statements. For further information on factors that could impact ATK, and statements contained herein, please refer to ATK's most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K and any subsequent quarterly reports on Form 10-Q and current reports on Form 8-K filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
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