ATK composites technology helps lift NASA craft to space

NASA launched the Radiation Belt Storm Probes mission atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket, which features a 10-ft diameter carbon fiber composite heat shield made by ATK.

ATK (Clearfield, Utah, USA) reported on Aug. 30 that its composite technology supported the successful Aug. 30 launch of a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., USA.

The ULA Atlas V rocket launched the Radiation Belt Storm Probes (RBSP) mission for NASA. RBSP is designed to help understand the Sun's influence on Earth and near­-Earth space by studying the Earth's radiation belts on various scales of space and time. The rocket flew in the 401 vehicle configuration with a 4­m/13.1-ft fairing and a single-­engine Centaur upper stage, with no solid rocket boosters.

Using advanced fiber placement manufacturing techniques, ATK produced the 10­-ft/3m diameter composite heat shield that provides essential protection for the first stage of the launch vehicle, fabricated by ATK at its Clearfield, Utah, facility. This is the 32nd Atlas V launch using ATK­built composite structures.