[SatNews] In addition to critical engineering support to NASA...the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s...they have also created a game-changing new commercial space market: robotic on-orbit satellite servicing.
ATK (NYSE: ATK) today hosted U.S. Rep. Donna F. Edwards (MD-4) at its Beltsville, Maryland facility for a tour and meeting with senior executives. Edwards and ATK executives discussed growth in products and services at the Beltsville facility that support the congresswoman’s initiatives to invest in advanced manufacturing jobs. Edwards is also a strong champion of Maryland’s aerospace industry and currently serves as the ranking member on the Space & Aeronautics Subcommittee, one of five subcommittees on the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology.
ATK’s Space Systems Division (SSD), a division of the company’s Aerospace Group, provides a portfolio of products and services in Beltsville that include manned and robotic satellite servicing capabilities, integrated small satellite systems, world-class multidisciplinary engineering services, advanced signals and cyber operations along with market-leading integrated thermal control technology. ATK’s integrated thermal control systems are used by almost all U.S. government and commercial satellites.
In addition to critical engineering support to NASA Goddard Space Flight Center’s Satellite Servicing Capabilities Office (SSCO) and participation in the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA) Phoenix satellite servicing mission, ATK SSD has also created a game-changing new commercial space market: robotic on-orbit satellite servicing. The centerpiece of the service is the ATK-designed Mission Extension Vehicle (MEV) which docks with an orbiting satellite and serves as the propulsion and attitude control systems. This service is designed to extend the life of commercial communication and other satellites to provide satellite owners with more value for their investments.
“We support Congresswoman Edwards in highlighting the importance of creating good, high-paying manufacturing jobs,” said Tom Wilson, vice president and general manager of ATK’s Space Systems Division. “The opportunities we see for new business, especially from our innovative satellite servicing operation, will help us execute our strategic plan for growth in the aerospace market.”
During her visit, Edwards toured ATK’s Integrated Thermal Systems (ITS) plant and the Robotic Rendezvous and Proximity Operations (RPO) Lab. The ITS manufacturing facility annually produces over 4,000 heat pipes and satellite panel structures along with other thermal control hardware for domestic and international space programs.
“ATK’s Space Systems facilities represent the cutting edge of our advanced manufacturing sector at work. In order to build on the work being done by companies like ATK, Congress must make critical investments in our workers and businesses here at home, “said Rep. Edwards. “We must advance tax incentives to create jobs in America and invest in research and development. That is why House Democrats have introduced the “Middle Class Jumpstart” agenda to help foster the best conditions for our businesses to produce, innovate and create jobs here in the U.S.”
The ATK RPO lab demonstrates satellite life extension technology with robotic and air-bearing testbeds, simulated satellite RPO and docking maneuvers. The facility also supports ATK’s recently introduced commercial satellite life extension joint venture, ViviSat. ATK has a long history of success in satellite servicing, spanning both military and civil sectors that include the NASA Hubble Space Telescope repair missions and the ongoing NASA Robotic Refueling Mission (RRM) at the International Space Station.
ATK employs approximately 1,000 employees at three facilities across Maryland. The facilities highlight the company’s commitment to growth in the metropolitan Washington and Maryland region. ATK is an aerospace, defense, and outdoor sports and recreation company with operations in 21 states, Puerto Rico, and internationally. News and information can be found on the Infonet at.