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NASA awards ATK $50 mln contract

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Artist concept of ATK's Advance Concept Booster in support of NASA engineering and risk reduction tests as part of their Space Launch System (SLS) programme. Photo: ATK.

ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA (BNS): NASA has awarded ATK a $50 million contract to complete engineering development and risk reduction tests as part of the Advanced Concept Booster Development for the Space Launch System (SLS).

"We are thrilled to have the opportunity to work with NASA to further reduce costs on the SLS programme while providing advanced technology to enhance the capability of America's heavy launch system," Charlie Precourt, ATK vice president and general manager, Space Launch Division, said in the company statement.

ATK's effort focuses on overcoming key technological challenges in developing advanced booster requirements for NASA's SLS programme.

According to the contract, ATK will be involved in the development of a lithium-ion battery-powered electric thrust vector control system; high-performance propellant; lightweight composite rocket motor case; and an advanced nozzle.

All of these developments will culminate with an integrated booster static test firing of these technologies. All of these tasks use cost-saving processes and materials that reduce cost and help lower risk as NASA moves towards a higher-performing booster in the future.

"Our advanced booster design incorporates innovations that deliver greater performance than current NASA requirements, while also providing higher reliability and lower costs," Precourt added.

ATK's advanced booster concept leverages the company's human-rated experience on the Space Shuttle and five-segment first stage programmes in conjunction with its extensive commercial heritage in supporting Delta, Antares, Pegasus and Taurus programmes.

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