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Satnews Daily
November 2nd, 2015

Orbital ATK's Products Positively Propelled Atlas V's Launch Of USAF's Improved Global Positioning on Earth

[Satnews] Orbital ATK, Inc. (NYSE: OA) contributed integrated hardware to the successful launch of the United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket and the GPS Block IIF satellite payload from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida on Saturday, October 31, 2015.

Now in geosynchronous orbit above the Earth, the eleventh GPS IIF satellite in the constellation will replace older, first-generation GPS satellites and provide improved accuracy, signal strength and quality to America’s warfighters, allies and civilian users worldwide. Boeing (NYSE: BA) designed and built the GPS IIF satellite for the U.S. Air Force.

“It is exciting to see Orbital ATK produced structures and components on both the launch vehicle and satellite of another successful EELV launch,” said Scott Lehr, President of Orbital ATK’s Flight Systems Group. “We look forward to adding our new GEM-63 solid rocket boosters—which are currently under development—to ULA’s Atlas V launches beginning in late 2018.”

For the ULA Atlas V rocket, ATK produced the 10-foot diameter composite heat shield, which provides essential protection for the first stage of the launch vehicle.

The Orbital ATK components, in both the ULA Atlas V launch vehicle and satellite, utilize the latest, cutting-edge technology across multiple divisions. These include large composite structures, retro motors, propellant tanks, state-of-the art solar arrays and other critical components on the GPS IIF satellite.

For the ULA 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 manufacturing techniques at Orbital ATK's Iuka, Mississippi, facility. This is the 59th ULA Atlas V launch using Orbital ATK-built composite structures.

This flight marked the 23rd successful flight of the Orbital ATK retro motors. Eight of these solid motors provided thrust for separation of the spent first stage. The ULA Atlas V retrorocket is built at Orbital ATK's Elkton, Maryland, facility.

Orbital ATK’s Space Components Division facility in Commerce, California manufactured the Reaction Control System (RCS) propellant tanks for the ULA Atlas V rocket.

For the GPS IIF-11 satellite, Orbital ATK provided a host of products and services, including:

  • Orbital ATK’s Goleta, California, facility designed and manufactured the satellite solar arrays and a deployment boom. Orbital ATK has achieved 100 percent on-orbit success on all solar arrays and deployable systems delivered and launched to date.
  • Orbital ATK’s San Diego, California, facility manufactured the composite solar array substrates and structural components.
  • Orbital ATK’s Commerce, California, facility had responsibility for the ullage tank assembly, including the blankets, heaters, thermistors and pressurant lines. This tank is a spherical vessel constructed of titanium.
  • Orbital ATK’s Beltsville, Maryland, facility provided heat pipes for the GPS IIF equipment and radiator panels.
  • Orbital ATK’s Rancho Bernardo, California, facility performed final assembly and RF (Radio Frequency) testing of the antenna suite for GPS IIF between 2003 and 2010.

The Block IIF series provides improved accuracy, enhanced internal atomic clocks, better anti-jam resistance, a civil signal for commercial aviation and a longer design life. The GPS IIF-11 satellite provides space-based system global location and time information in all weather conditions.