Orbital ATK, Stratolaunch partner up for space launches

Orbital ATK will provide multiple Pegasus XL air-launch vehicles for use with the composites-intensive Stratolaunch satellite-delivery aircraft.

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Orbital ATK Inc. (Dulles, Virginia), a global provider of aerospace and defense technologies, and Stratolaunch Systems (Seattle, Washington) on Oct. 6 announced a multi-year production-based partnership that will reportedly offer significant cost advantages to air-launch customers.

Under this partnership, Orbital ATK will initially provide multiple Pegasus XL air-launch vehicles for use with the composites-intensive Stratolaunch aircraft to provide customers with unparalleled flexibility to launch small satellites weighing up to 1,000 lb/453.6 kg into low Earth orbit. Pegasus has carried out 42 space launch missions, successfully placing more than 80 satellites into orbit for scientific, commercial, defense and international customers.

“We are energized by this evolved partnership with Orbital ATK,” says Jean Floyd, CEO of Stratolaunch Systems and executive director of Vulcan Aerospace, which owns Stratolaunch Systems. “Orbital ATK is the world’s most experienced air-launch service provider, and we are proud to leverage that expertise and progressive approach in pursuit of our shared goal of convenient and affordable commercial access to low Earth orbit.”

“Orbital ATK is excited by this collaboration and sees it as a positive first step in a long-term partnership,” says Scott Lehr, president of Orbital ATK’s Flight Systems Group. “The combination of our extensive air-launch experience and the Stratolaunch aircraft has the potential to provide innovative and cost-effective options for commercial launch customers.”