ATK (Alliant Techsystems) (NYSE: ATK) said rocket motor case and advanced composite material technologies developed by its Aerospace Group supported the successful maiden launch today of Japan’s new H-IIA space launch vehicle from Tanegashima Space Center, Tanegashima Island, Japan.
In a unique arrangement and in cooperation with IHI Aerospace Co., Ltd. (IA), Tokyo, Japan, (formerly Nissan Motor Co. Ltd., Aerospace Division), ATK Thiokol Propulsion Company, Promontory, Utah, designed the composite rocket motor case for the H-IIA vehicle’s two ground-lit Solid-Rocket Boosters (SRB-As), using proven technology from its CASTOR 120® motor. The company also supplied its patented TCR™ graphite-epoxy, preimpregnated (prepreg) resin materials for use in constructing the case. The case technology was provided under an export license approved by the U.S. State Department.
The design and manufacturing process for the SRB-A cases was validated at ATK Thiokol Propulsion Company’s Promontory, Utah, facility. IA manufactured the cases in Tomioka, Japan, using TCR prepreg tow (fiber string) and fabric materials, which have the highest production strength of any composite materials.
ATK Thiokol Propulsion Company has supplied materials for approximately 18 cases to IA for the H-IIA development and manufacturing program.
The H-IIA family of launch vehicles, which will comprise five separate vehicle configurations, is being developed under the direction and funding of the National Space Development Agency of Japan (NASDA). All five configurations will feature ATK’s rocket motor case and composite technology.
“This launch is another successful step in building and continuing our relationship with NASDA and the Japanese aerospace industry that began over 30 years ago with the N-1 vehicle,” said Oren Phillips, vice president, business development, ATK Thiokol Propulsion Company. “Thiokol Corporation (now ATK Thiokol Propulsion Company) produced the third-stage motor for the Japanese N-1 vehicle. As one of the original third-stage motor program managers, it is with great pride that ATK Thiokol Propulsion Company is also a supplier for the H-IIA launch vehicle, which demonstrates new capabilities and is a valuable addition to the space industry around the world.”
The H-IIA vehicle configuration flown on the maiden flight has an LE-7A liquid engine in the core and two SRB-A motors, and is capable of placing payloads weighing up to four metric tons into orbit. The first vehicle did not have a satellite payload, but carried a three-ton weight to simulate future spacecraft loads and a mirrored ball to test for orbital insertion.
NASDA’s next flight of the H-IIA is scheduled for early 2002.
ATK is a $1.6 billion aerospace and defense company with leading positions in munitions, precision capabilities, propulsion and composite structures. The company, which is headquartered in Hopkins, Minn., employs approximately 9,600 people and has two business segments: Aerospace and Defense. ATK news and information can be found on the Internet at http://www.atk.com/
SOURCE: Alliant Techsystems
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