Space

October 28, 2013

NASA advanced booster shows options on increasing performance, reducing cost

atk-nasa1
ATK has achieved a significant milestone in its NASA Research Announcement Advanced Booster risk-reduction program for the Space Launch System by successfully completing filament winding of a pathfinder Advanced Booster composite case.

Ultimately, this Advanced Booster NRA effort will enable NASA and ATK to optimize a case design that will be stronger, yet more affordable than traditional steel cases. In turn, this will provide increased payload performance due to reduced weight inherent in composite materials.

“ATK’s risk-reduction efforts on this NRA will help NASA with technological development and performance upgrades in the future,” said Charlie Precourt, vice president and general manager of ATK’s Space Launch division. “It also ties to cost reductions we have made on the existing SLS boosters and advances in our commercial business.”

The pathfinder article is a 92-inch-diameter, 27-foot-long composite case. In order to achieve both the affordability and performance required of an Advanced Booster, ATK overcame unique challenges during case winding operations. ATK leveraged 45 years of composite case winding experience, its experienced workforce, and a modern fiber-placement tooling system to achieve success on its first attempt.

“Creating a composite case and developing advanced propellant for NASA’s advanced booster coincides with technological advances in our commercial rocket programs at ATK,” said Precourt.

ATK has manufactured more than 1,600 commercial solid rocket motors to date, many of which use composite cases and high-energy propellants, for a wide variety of launch vehicles including Delta II and Delta IV, as well as Orbital’s PegasusÆ, TaurusÆ, MinotaurÆ and AntaresTM space launch vehicles.
atk-nasa2
ATK first entered the commercial launch vehicle market in 1987 when it developed its first commercial composite motor, the GEM-40, which is still being used on the Delta II launch vehicle. ATK’s commercial product line includes GEM, CASTORÆ, and Orion solid rocket motors.

The next step in the Advanced Booster NRA program is to continue development of high performance and low-cost propellants that meet the lofty payload and affordability goals of NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS). These propellants, many of which are also widely used in ATK commercial solid rocket motors, combined with the achievements made in composite case technology, will provide NASA several options for performance increases for the next generation Advanced Booster.

On the existing SLS boosters ATK’s Value Stream Mapping (VSM) process, which is a company-wide business practice, allowed the employees to identify inefficient processes, procedures and requirements to help reach the target condition. Through this process, ATK identified more than 400 changes and improvements, which NASA approved. These changes have reduced assembly time by approximately 46 percent, saving millions of dollars in projected costs for the SLS system.

ATK has 29 key suppliers for the NRA contract across 16 states: Alabama, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah and Wisconsin.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
Image courtesy of NASA/CXC/M. Weiss

NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory finds planet that makes star act deceptively old

Image courtesy of NASA/CXC/M. Weiss A new study from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory shows that a giant exoplanet, WASP-18b, is making the star that it orbits very closely act much older than it actually is. This artist&...
 
 
NASA photographs by Tom Tschida

NASA Shuttle Carrier Aircraft 911 moves to final home

NASA photographs by Tom Tschida NASA 911, one of two retired Shuttle Carrier Aircraft that ferried NASA’s space shuttles across the country for three decades, is towed from NASA Armstrong’s Bldg. 703 on its final journey to...
 
 
Image courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona

NASA’s Mars Curiosity rover arrives at Martian mountain

NASA’s Mars Curiosity rover has reached the Red Planet’s Mount Sharp, a Mount-Rainier-size mountain at the center of the vast Gale Crater and the rover mission’s long-term prime destination. “Curiosity n...
 

 

NASA announces 2014 aeronautics scholarship recipients

NASA has selected 20 students from across the nation to receive the agency’s Aeronautics Scholarship for the 2014-2015 school year. This scholarship program, which is in its seventh year, is designed to assist undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in fields of study related to aeronautics. Recipients were selected from hundreds of applications to the program....
 
 
NASA photograph by Dan Casper

NASA’s Orion spacecraft nears completion, ready for fueling

NASA photograph by Dan Casper The Orion crew module, stacked atop its service module, moved out of the Neil Armstrong Operations and Checkout Building at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Sept 11. Orion was transporte...
 
 

NASA awards cross-track infrared sounder instrument for the JPSS-2

NASA has awarded a sole source contract modification to Exelis, Inc., Geospatial Systems, of Fort Wayne, Ind., for the Cross-track Infrared Sounder Instrument for flight on the Joint Polar Satellite System-2 mission. This is a cost-plus-award-fee modification in the amount of $221 million. This action extends the period of performance of the contract from November...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>