ATK provided hardware for both the Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) 3 satellite and the United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V launch vehicle that launched today from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla.
The AEHF 3 is the third satellite in a constellation designed to provide highly secure communications for the military and executive government users for in U.S. and three allied nations. Lockheed Martin Space Systems is the prime contractor for the AEHF constellation, which will complement and replace the Milstar system.
"Ensuring successful Atlas V missions is a critical component of what we do to support ULA," said Joy de Lisser, vice president and general manager of ATK Aerospace Structures. "Our workforce is committed to providing quality components to ULA and serving the U.S warfighter."
The Atlas V rocket flew in the 531 vehicle configuration with a five-meter fairing, three solid rocket boosters and a single-engine Centaur upper stage. This is the 40th Atlas V launch using ATK-built composite structures.
Many ATK components and structures also supported the Atlas V rocket:
- Using advanced fiber placement manufacturing and automated inspection techniques, ATK produced three components for the ULA Atlas V 531 vehicle, including the 10-foot diameter composite heat shield that provides essential protection to the first stage engine, the Centaur Interstage Adapter (CISA) that houses the second stage engine, and the Boattail that adapts from the core vehicle to the five-meter diameter fairing. ATK manufactured the structures at its Iuka, Miss., facility.
- This flight marked the fifth successful flight of the ATK retro motors. Eight of these solid motors supported separation of the spent first stage. The Atlas retrorocket is built at ATK's Missile Defense and Controls facility in Elkton, Md.
- ATK manufactured the Reaction Control System propellant tank for the Atlas V at its Commerce, Calif., facility.
For the AEHF 3 satellite, ATK provided a host of products:
- The spacecraft bus structure, solar array substrates, yokes and booms were manufactured by ATK's Space Components division, headquartered in San Diego, Calif.
- Composite structures for the antenna gimbal assemblies, used for precise pointing of the antenna payloads, were manufactured at ATK's Magna, Utah, facility.
- Pressurant and propellant tanks for the AEHF propulsion system were manufactured at ATK's Commerce, Calif., facility.
- ATK also provided the heat pipes in support of the bus structure and the payload heat pipes used for cooling the antenna payload suite; both were manufactured at the company's Beltsville, Md., facility.