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Satnews Daily
January 21st, 2015

Critical Components From ATK Assist In Taking MUOS-3 To Spatial Slot

[SatNews] ATK (NYSE: ATK) provided critical hardware for yesterday’s Atlas V launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida.

The company contributed hardware on the third satellite in the U.S. Navy's Mobile User Objective System (MUOS), designated MUOS-3, and the United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V launch vehicle. MUOS is the next generation in narrowband tactical satellite communications systems. The MUOS constellation, for which Lockheed Martin Space Systems is the prime contractor, will provide mobile warfighters with significantly improved and secure communications.

Artistic rendition of the U.S. Navy's MUOS-3 satellite.

Using advanced fiber placement manufacturing and automated inspection techniques, ATK produced three components for the ULA Atlas V 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. The structures were fabricated by ATK at its Iuka, Mississippi, facility. This is the 52nd Atlas V launch using ATK-built composite structures.

The Atlas V rocket flew in the 551 vehicle configuration with a five-meter fairing, five solid rocket boosters and a single-engine Centaur upper stage. ATK manufactured the Reaction Control System propellant tank for the Atlas V at its Commerce, California facility. This flight marked the 17th 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 Elkton, Maryland, facility. For the MUOS-3 satellite, ATK provided multiple components and structures from the following company locations: San Diego, Goleta, and Commerce, California; Magna, Utah; and Beltsville, Maryland.

“ATK continues to provide highly engineered, reliable products to our customers,” said Blake Larson, president of ATK’s Aerospace Group. “Our products are critical to mission success, and we are determined to ensure they work on time, every time.”

The MUOS-3 is the third satellite in the Navy’s planned five-satellite MUOS constellation. Once the constellation is complete, MUOS satellites will provide a 16x increase in number of accesses over the current Ultra High Frequency (UHF) satellite system requirement. MUOS-1 and MUOS-2, launched respectively in 2012 and 2013, are already operational and providing high-quality voice communications. MUOS-4 is on track to launch later in this year. MUOS-5 is expected to launch in 2016.

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