From: Alliant Techsystems
Posted: Monday, March 29, 2004
ATK's X-43A Paves the Way for Space and Military Applications
NASA and an industry team led by ATK (Alliant Techsystems) achieved a world speed record for air-breathing powered flight during a test of the X-43A Supersonic Combustion Ramjet (Scramjet) engine-powered research vehicle on March 27.
According to Don Shaffer, group vice president, ATK Advanced Propulsion and Space Systems, the successful flight test of the X-43A demonstrates the potential of ramjet/scramjet propulsion for critical Department of Defense and NASA requirements.
"The flight test was also the first since ATK acquired GASL last November and demonstrates how the company's propulsion capabilities now span the spectrum from solid rocket motors to next-generation scramjets," said Shaffer.
Vincent Rausch, NASA Hyper-X program manager, said, "In the nearer-term, rapid response for time-critical targets and precision stand-off capabilities will be significantly enhanced by the deployment of air-breathing scramjet engines. Future applications for hypersonic flight include low-cost space launch vehicles that offer reliable space transport."
The X-43A was carried aloft under the wing of a NASA B-52 and launched on the Western Test Range over the Pacific Ocean with the assistance of a Pegasus derivative Hyper-X booster. After climbing to an altitude of approximately 95,000 feet and reaching a speed of Mach 7, the X-43A separated from the launch vehicle and flew under its own power, breaking the speed record for an air-breathing aircraft.
The X-43A scramjet engine and fuel systems were manufactured by ATK GASL, Ronkonkoma, N.Y. Vehicle integration, instrumentation development and systems testing were performed at the ATK GASL facility in Tullahoma, Tenn. Both Boeing PhantomWorks and NASA played major roles in the design of the X-43A. ATK's Orion solid propulsion motor provided power for the modified Pegasus booster. ATK Thiokol in Magna, Utah manufactures the motor, which has flown on all Pegasus rockets.
ATK is a $2.2 billion aerospace and defense company with strong positions in propulsion, composite structures, munitions, precision capabilities, and civil and sporting ammunition. The company, which is headquartered in Edina, Minn., employs approximately 13,200 people and has three business groups: Precision Systems, Aerospace, and Ammunition and Related Products. ATK news and information can be found on the Internet at 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: the technical challenges of hypersonic flight, changes in governmental spending and budgetary policies, economic conditions, equity market returns, the company's competitive environment, the timing of awards and contracts, the outcome of contingencies, including litigation and environmental remediation, program performance, and sales projections. ATK undertakes no obligation to update any forward-looking statements. For further information on factors that could impact ATK, and statements contained herein, reference should be made to ATK's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, current reports on Form 8-K and annual reports on Form 10-K.
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