ATK Rocket Motors Launch NASA Satellite on Journey to See Early Universe

Press Release From: Alliant Techsystems
Posted: Monday, July 2, 2001

ATK (Alliant Techsystems) said rocket motors manufactured by its Aerospace Group for The Boeing Company played a dual role in the successful launch on June 30 of a NASA satellite that will probe the deepest mysteries of the universe.

Four GEM-40 solid propellant strap-on motors built by ATK Aerospace Propulsion Company provided the first-stage boost to a Boeing Delta II rocket carrying NASA's Microwave Anisotropy Probe (MAP) satellite. Approximately 86 minutes after the launch, a Thiokol STAR(TM) 48B third-stage motor manufactured by ATK Missile Products Company thrust the MAP satellite toward its orbit beyond the moon.

NASA scientists will use data from the MAP satellite to determine the content, shape, history, and ultimate fate of the universe by constructing a full-sky picture of the oldest light in the cosmos -- the afterglow of the Big Bang, which comes from a time well before there were any stars, galaxies, or quasars. It will take about 18 months to build the full-sky picture and perform the analysis.

ATK's GEM-40 boosters are manufactured at ATK Aerospace Propulsion Company's facility in Magna, Utah. The Thiokol STAR 48B motors are produced at ATK Missile Product Company's Elkton Operations in Elkton, Md.

ATK has a long history of involvement with NASA programs. The company's solid propulsion rocket motors have supported numerous NASA space missions launched by the Delta, Titan IV B, Pegasus® and Taurus® vehicles, while its advanced composite materials have been used to fabricate spacecraft structures such as the optical benches on the Hubble Space Telescope. With the recent acquisition of Thiokol Propulsion -- the supplier of the Space Shuttle's reusable solid rocket motors -- NASA is now one of ATK's largest customers.

ATK Aerospace Propulsion Company and ATK Missile Products Company are operating companies within ATK's Aerospace Group.

ATK is a $1.6 billion aerospace and defense company with leading positions in propulsion, composite structures, munitions, and precision capabilities. The company, which is headquartered in Hopkins, Minn., employs approximately 10,000 people and has two business segments: Aerospace and Defense. ATK news and information can be found on the Internet at

// end //

More news releases and status reports or top stories.

Please follow SpaceRef on Twitter and Like us on Facebook.