ATK (NYSE: ATK) provided critical hardware for both the United Launch Alliance Atlas V launch vehicle and the Landsat Data Continuity Mission (LDCM) satellite that launched February 11 from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.
LDCM is a collaborative effort between NASA and the U.S. Geological Survey to provide a long-term record of the Earth's landscapes for use in agriculture, education, business, science and government. The data from the Landsat spacecraft constitute the longest record of the Earth's continental surfaces as seen from space.
"ATK is proud to provide key components of these important science missions for NASA," said David Shanahan, Vice President and General Manager of ATK's Space Components Division. "Landsat has provided remarkable data for nearly 40 years, and the work we collaborate on with our customers will lead to the next generation's understanding of our planet."
For the LDCM satellite, ATK led the design, engineering, fabrication and testing of the spacecraft's graphite composite structures from sites located in San Diego, Calif., and Magna, Utah. Among the critical ATK-provided structures are the Operational Land Imager (OLI) optical and intermediate benches for Ball Aerospace in Boulder, Colo., and the spacecraft sensor platform that supports both the OLI and Thermal Infrared Sensor (TIRS) for the spacecraft integrator, Orbital Sciences Corporation in Gilbert, Ariz. The precision optical structures met or exceeded requirements for thermal distortion, pointing and stiffness while supporting the science sensors that are vital for the spacecraft mission performance.
For the ULA Atlas V rocket, ATK produced the 10-foot diameter composite heat shield, which provides essential protection for the first stage of the launch vehicle, using advanced fiber placement manufacturing techniques at its Iuka, Miss., and Clearfield, Utah, facilities. In addition, ATK manufactured the Reaction Control System (RCS) propellant tank for the Atlas V rocket at its Commerce, Calif., facility. The Atlas V rocket (AV-035) flew in the 401 vehicle configuration with a four-meter fairing, a single-engine Centaur upper stage and no solid rocket boosters. This is the 36th Atlas V launch using ATK-built composite structures.
With the LDCM satellite, ATK is building on a strong heritage of providing flight precision spacecraft structures for important NASA science missions. Previously, ATK provided the structures for the bus core, solar arrays and the photometer to Ball Aerospace for NASA's Kepler mission, which is searching for habitable planets around other stars. The ATK Magna site is currently providing the backplane, backplane support frame, Integrated Science Instrument Module (ISIM) optical bench, secondary mirror struts and star tracker structures for NASA's James Webb Space Telescope.
"We are very pleased to have the opportunity to support NASA's important science missions," said Dave Howell, ATK's Operations director for Space Components in Magna, Utah. "It is gratifying to know how important ATK's hard work in engineering and manufacturing is to our nation's satellite programs."
TenCate Advanced Composites, based in Morgan Hill, Calif., and Hexcel Corporation, based in West Valley City, Utah, provided advanced graphite materials used by ATK in the manufacturing of the LDCM and JWST satellite's graphite composite structures.
ATK is an aerospace, defense, and commercial products company with operations in 21 states, Puerto Rico, and internationally. News and information can be found on the Internet at www.atk.com.