Orbital Sciences Corp. and ATK completed their merger Feb. 9, forming a $4.5 billion aerospace and defense company employing 12,500 people across 17 states.
Looking to rush new space technologies to the shelves in five years or fewer, NASA on Dec. 23 announced it awarded unfunded Collaborations for Commercial Space Capabilities space act agreements to four U.S. companies.
Fortunato joins ATK after six years with Honeywell Aerospace, where he was most recently director of government relations.
ATK Chief Executive Mark W. DeYoung said there are no near-term liquid-propulsion alternatives to Russian engines for U.S. rockets.
ATK on Nov. 17 said its special due-diligence assessment of Orbital Sciences following the Oct. 28 failure of Orbital’s Antares rocket has concluded that the merger of ATK’s Aerospace and Defense group with Orbital remained a good idea.
ATK positioned solid-rocket motors as a relatively near-term replacement for the RD-180, citing the company’s quick development of six new solid motors, some of which were completed in less than two years.
Thompson says Orbital will bring more satellite and rocket work in-house after union.
Since the shuttle program ended in 2011, ATK’s NASA business has stabilized, if not returned to shuttle-era levels.
The GPS-aided AFSS uses tracking data independent from on-board vehicle instruments to calculate whether a rocket is on course after leaving the launch pad.
NASA spent $1.4 billion of its $1.8 billion SLS budget for 2013 on vehicle development, down from the $1.5 billion it spent in 2012.
By the time the European-built tug makes its fifth flight to ISS, it will be sporting a distinctive pair of circular arrays.
ATK said it now sees light at the end of the tunnel at its Aerospace division after a steep decline following the end of key NASA and U.S. Air Force programs.