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ATK Propulsion and Composite Technologies Support Launch of NASA Earth Observation Satellite

Press Release From: Alliant Techsystems
Posted: Monday, May 6, 2002

ATK solid propulsion and composite structure technologies supported the launch on May 4 of a Boeing Delta II 7920-10L rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. that successfully placed into orbit NASA's Aqua Earth observation satellite.

Nine GEM 40 strap-on boosters manufactured by ATK Thiokol Propulsion, Promontory, Utah, at its facility in Magna, Utah, provided the initial thrust for the Boeing Delta II rocket. Six of the boosters were ignited at lift off with the rocket's first-stage main engine, with the remaining three boosters ignited shortly thereafter. The spent motors were then jettisoned from the rocket as it continued its mission. GEM-40 boosters have flown on Boeing Delta II missions since 1990.

The composite cases for the GEM 40 boosters, which are manufactured by ATK Aerospace Composite Structures, Clearfield, Utah, are made of graphite epoxy material. The cases, which are fabricated using a process first introduced by the company in 1958 and modernized and automated over the years, support space launches by a variety of vehicles, including Delta, Titan IV, Pegasus, and Taurus.

The Aqua satellite, the latest in the Earth Observing System series, will collect atmospheric measurements as part of a long-term NASA research study of changes in the global environment. The satellite's instruments will gather important data about global energy and water cycles, enabling scientists to monitor climate variations and trends.

ATK Thiokol Propulsion is the world's leading supplier of solid-propellant rocket motors. In addition to the GEM-40 booster, the company manufactures the GEM-46 booster flown on the Boeing Delta III rocket. Later this year, the GEM-60 booster will fly for the first time on the new Boeing Delta IV rocket.

Patented manufacturing techniques together with strict and uncompromising attention to process control, schedule, and affordability have made ATK Aerospace Composite Structures one of the world's leading manufacturers of high-performance composite structures. The company produces structures for military and commercial aircraft, space launch vehicles, satellites, and spacecraft.

ATK is a $2 billion aerospace and defense company with leading positions in propulsion, composite structures, munitions, and precision capabilities. The company, which is headquartered in Edina, Minn., employs approximately 11,600 people and has three business groups: Aerospace, Precision Systems, and Ammunition. ATK news and information can be found on the Internet at http://www.atk.com

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