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Satnews Daily
April 26th, 2011

Alliant Techsystems (ATK)... A Boost For Taurus II (Spacecraft)

[SatNews] This new contract will bring additional power to the second stage of the Taurus II...

ATK (NYSE: ATK) has been awarded a $57 million contract to provide the CASTOR® 30XL, an upgraded second stage motor for Orbital Science Corporation's (NYSE: ORB) Taurus® II commercial launch vehicle, which will supply cargo for NASA to the International Space Station. The CASTOR 30XL is a larger and higher-performance solid rocket motor, with greater payload capability than the CASTOR® 30A, which is used on the current configuration of the Taurus II. "The CASTOR® 30XL is another important addition to our expanding portfolio of commercial propulsion products, which include the GEM, Orion, and CASTOR® solid rocket motor lines." said Scott Lehr, ATK Aerospace Systems vice president and general manager of Strategic and Commercial Systems. "We leveraged our heritage flight-proven and cost-effective technologies to develop a customized, higher-performing second stage solution for Orbital's Taurus II launch vehicle."

The first two test flights of the Taurus II will use the original CASTOR® 30A configuration, the next two flights will use a higher-performing CASTOR® 30B motor, while the CASTOR® 30XL will be used after the first four flights. Orbital's Taurus II medium-class launch vehicle is slated to perform commercial cargo re-supply missions to the International Space Station (ISS) for NASA. It will be demonstrated under the Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) program and put into service under the Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) contract.