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ATK Composite and Propulsion Technologies Help Launch National Reconnaissance Office Satellite


ATK Supports the First West Coast Launch of Boeing’s Delta IV

Minneapolis, June 28, 2006 – Alliant Techsystems (NYSE: ATK) propulsion and composite technologies supported yesterday’s successful launch of a Boeing Delta IV rocket carrying a classified spy satellite for the U.S. National Reconnaissance Office. This was the first Delta IV mission launched from the Western Range at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.

ATK Launch Systems designed and produced the nozzle for the Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne-built RS-68 engine as well as the nozzle’s thermal protection material, capable of shielding it from the extreme heat of launch when external temperatures can exceed 4,000°F. The Delta IV’s RS-68 is the largest hydrogen-fueled engine in the world, utilizing an ATK nozzle that is the first of its kind in a liquid booster engine.

Two GEM-60 solid propulsion strap-on boosters, also built by ATK, provided augmented thrust for the launch. The two 60-inch-diameter boosters ignited at liftoff and burned for just over 90 seconds before being jettisoned from the common booster core (CBC) and falling back to Earth. During the flight, each GEM provided 195,000 pounds of average thrust.

ATK supplied seven key composite structures for the launch vehicle: the thermal shield that houses the RS-68 main engine, the centerbody structure that connects the liquid oxygen and hydrogen tanks of the CBC, the liquid oxygen forward skirt that connects with the interstage and interfaces the 5 meter diameter CBC with the 4 meter diameter upper stage and payload, the payload attach fitting (PAF) and diaphragm (PAFD) that interface the upper stage with the payload, and the payload fairing that houses the spacecraft.

The structures, which range from 4 to 5 meters (13.1to 16.6 ft) in diameter and up to 8 meters (26 feet) in length, are produced using advanced hand layup manufacturing techniques at the company’s manufacturing facility in Iuka, Miss.

ATK is a $3.4 billion advanced weapon and space systems company employing approximately 15,000 people in 22 states. News and information can be found on the Internet at


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