[SatNews] "...greater performance was achieved by making several innovative, cost effective changes to the baseline motor, which provided additional thrust."
ATK (NYSE: ATK) provided the second stage propulsion for Thursday's successful launch of Orbital Sciences Corporation's Antares™ rocket on its first NASA Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) mission to the International Space Station (ISS). The CRS mission ensures critical supplies are delivered on-time to the only laboratory in microgravity. Liftoff occurred at 1:07 p.m. EST from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility.
"ATK's CASTOR second stage motor played an important role today in successfully launching Orbital's first CRS mission to the ISS," said Scott Lehr, vice president and general manager of ATK Aerospace Group's Defense and Commercial division. "CASTOR 30B's greater performance was achieved by making several innovative, cost effective changes to the baseline motor, which provided additional thrust."
This was the third successful Antares launch in the past nine months, and the first flight of Antares configured with ATK's upgraded CASTOR 30B motor. The upgraded motor was developed in response to the need of increasing the payload capability for the vehicle. The 30B motor on average provides 25 percent more thrust, allowing for additional cargo.
This motor incorporates modifications from the CASTOR 30, which flew on the first two Antares flights. The 30B is longer, and nominally designed as an upper stage that can function as a second or third stage depending on the vehicle configuration.
One of the key partners supporting ATK through development and production of the CASTOR 30B motor is Moog in East Aurora, N.Y., which produced the thrust vector control (TVC) system. The TVC system was developed to have common hardware for future use on other ATK motors.
This flight of Antares was the first of eight regularly scheduled cargo delivery missions to the ISS under the $1.9 billion CRS contract with NASA. Under the CRS contract, Orbital will deliver approximately 20,000 kilograms of cargo to the ISS through 2016. For these missions, NASA will manifest a variety of essential items based on ISS program needs, including food, clothing, crew supplies, spare parts and equipment, and scientific experiments.
The International Space Station is a convergence of science, technology and human innovation that demonstrates new technologies and makes research breakthroughs not possible on Earth. The space station has had crew members continuously on board since November 2000. The space station remains the springboard to NASA's next great leap in exploration, including NASA's future deep space exploration missions.
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