[Satnews] Orbital ATK, Inc. (NYSE:OA) provided critical launch vehicle and satellite payload hardware for the Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT) Commercial Launch Services launch of Mexico’s Morelos-3 satellite aboard an Atlas V.
Morelos-3 will be the second satellite that comprises the MEXSAT communications satellite system. MEXSAT is a constellation of satellites owned by Secretaría de Comunicaciones y Transportes, a government agency of Mexico, and operated by Telecomunicaciones de México, which delivers advanced mobile and fixed satellite telecommunications throughout Mexico.
Orbital ATK’s contributions to the Atlas V and Morelos-3 satellite include cutting-edge technologies from across the company. Contributions include a large composite faring, retro motors and propellant tanks for the rocket, and thermal and structural components on the satellite.
For the Atlas V rocket, Orbital ATK produced the 10-foot diameter composite heat shield, which provides higher performance with lower weight, and essential protection for the first stage of the launch vehicle from engine exhaust temperatures in excess of 4,000 degrees Fahrenheit. The assembly was fabricated using advanced fiber placement manufacturing techniques at Orbital ATK's Iuka, Mississippi facility. This is the 57th Atlas V launch using Orbital ATK-built composite structures.
This launch also marked the 22nd successful flight of Orbital ATK produced retro motors. Eight of these solid motors supported separation of the spent first stage. The Atlas V retrorocket is built at Orbital ATK’s Missile Defense and Controls facility in Elkton, Maryland.
For the Morelos-3 satellite, Orbital ATK provided the structures for the booms and the 22-meter payload antenna that make up the precision stable backing structure for the Harris deployable antenna. Orbital ATK’s Space Components Division facility in Magna, Utah, manufactured these components for the spacecraft. The division also supplied propellant tanks for the Atlas V rocket. Orbital ATK has provided similar structural components for the spacecraft industry for more than 35 years from sites in California and Utah. The Orbital ATK Beltsville, Maryland, facility manufactured the Loop Heat Pipes and payload heat pipes which are an integral part of the satellite’s thermal control system. Orbital ATK has delivered more than 50,000 heat pipes to the space industry with perfect, on-orbit mission success.
“With every launch I am reminded that the products we build are extremely important to our customers,” said Scott Lehr, President of Orbital ATK’s Flight Systems Group. “We are pleased to be a part of this important mission to help increase the telecommunications capability of the Government of Mexico.”