ATK announced Oct. 9 that NASA has awarded the company 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.
“We are thrilled to have the opportunity to work with NASA to further reduce costs on the SLS program while providing advanced technology to enhance the capability of America’s heavy launch system,” said Charlie Precourt, ATK vice president and general manager, Space Launch Division. “We appreciate NASA’s focus on addressing the challenges of enhancing performance.”
ATK’s effort focuses on overcoming key technological challenges in developing advanced booster requirements for NASA’s SLS program. Tasks within the scope of ATK’s award include 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.
“This program will not only demonstrate a higher-performing booster, it will verify our affordability initiatives, which are key to sustainability as we move forward,” said Precourt. “Our advanced booster design incorporates innovations that deliver greater performance than current NASA requirements, while also providing higher reliability and lower costs.”
ATK’s advanced booster concept leverages the company’s human-rated experience on the Space Shuttle and five-segment first stage programs in conjunction with its extensive commercial heritage in supporting Delta, Antares, Pegasus and Taurus programs.
“Investing with ATK during this early development phase enables NASA to achieve the goal of having a safe and affordable human space exploration program,” said Precourt.