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Orbital ATK supports exploration of Earth’s magnetosphere

Orbital ATK provided critical hardware for the United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V vehicle that launched four NASA satellites last night from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida.
NASA’s MMS (Magnetospheric Multiscale) is a Solar Terrestrial Probes program comprising four identically instrumented satellites that will use Earth’s magnetosphere as a laboratory to study the microphysics of three fundamental plasma processes of space weather occurring in near-Earth space: magnetic reconnection, energetic particle acceleration and turbulence.

“Witnessing yet another successful launch of an Atlas V serves as a reminder of how much Orbital ATK values our partnerships with ULA and NASA,” said Ron Grabe, President of Orbital ATK’s Flight Systems Group. “Our highly engineered composite and control products play an important role in ensuring dependable access to space and affordable innovation for our customers.”

Orbital ATK produced the 10-foot diameter composite heat shield, which provides protection for the first stage of the launch vehicle. The assembly was fabricated using fiber placement manufacturing techniques at the company’s Iuka, Mississippi, facility.

The Atlas V retrorocket is built by Orbital ATK’s Defense Systems Group at its facility in Elkton, Maryland.

For the NASA MMS satellites, Orbital ATK’s Space Systems Group built the observatory decks, spacecraft decks and bulkhead support panels at its Beltsville, Maryland, facility. The company delivered the aluminum honeycomb structural panels directly to NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.


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