Headlines > News > ATK Delivers Attitude Control Motor for Upcoming Orion Pad Abort -1 Test

ATK Delivers Attitude Control Motor for Upcoming Orion Pad Abort -1 Test

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Fri Feb 19, 2010 9:41 am via: ATK
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(ATK) – ATK Builds on Successful DM-1 Test with Key Milestone Towards Improved Flight Safety for Astronauts
NASA’s Pad Abort Test of the Orion Launch Abort System is Scheduled for Spring 2010

MINNEAPOLIS – Alliant Techsystems (NYSE: ATK) has delivered the Orion launch abort system (LAS) attitude control motor (ACM) from its facility in Elkton, Maryland to the White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico for NASA’s  upcoming pad abort 1 (PA-1) flight test.

PA-1 is the first flight test for NASA’s Orion crew exploration vehicle being developed by Lockheed Martin to become the nation’s next-generation space flight vehicle to carry out missions in low Earth orbit and explore other destinations throughout our solar system such as the moon, Mars or even asteroids. The Orion LAS is designed to significantly improve crew safety for human space flight.

The ACM was developed with new, innovative technologies that will be tested during PA-1, such as the first system level demonstration of a controllable solid propulsion system intended for human space flight. In addition, this test will provide the first system-level demonstration of high-thrust proportional valves and the first use of a high-voltage lithium-ion battery in a solid-propellant system.  Now at White Sands, the ACM will be integrated with the other motors and subsystems that comprise the LAS and will be an integral component to success of the flight test that NASA is scheduled to launch this spring.

The delivery of the ACM follows the successful static test of a full-scale attitude control motor conducted by ATK on December 15, 2009 at Elkton.  That test validated ATK’s design and the motor’s performance met all test objectives.  The ACM provides steering for the Orion launch abort system, which is designed to safely lift and steer the Orion crew module away from the launch vehicle in the event of an emergency.  The LAS will enhance safety by providing an emergency escape for astronauts occupying the crew exploration vehicle. The LAS is mounted on top of the crew module and is comprised of three motors: an attitude control motor, an abort motor and a jettison motor.

“The delivery of the ACM motor is an important step forward toward our customer’s first pad abort flight test,” said Bart Olson, Vice President and General Manager, ATK Tactical Propulsion and Controls. “Our team is proud to be a part of a system offering capabilities that will improve flight safety for our astronauts, and this delivery is another step toward making that a reality.”

ATK’s attitude control motor consists of a solid propellant gas generator, with eight proportional valves equally spaced around the circumference of the three-foot diameter motor. In combination, the valves can exert up to 7,000 pounds of steering force each to the vehicle in any direction upon command from the crew module. The valves are controlled by a redundant power and control system.

ATK is under contract to Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT), NASA’s prime contractor for Orion, to develop and deliver the attitude control motor as well as the abort motor for Orion’s development test flights and human rated flights. ATK is also the prime contractor for Ares I first stage.

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