Much is at stake for the space industry in how the Air Force proceeds with a “launch services agreement” that has been in the works for months. Bidders already have commented on an earlier draft request for proposals and are now awaiting the final RFP.
One concern is what implications this merger could have in ongoing efforts to modernize the nation’s intercontinental ballistic missiles. Orbital ATK is one of two key suppliers of rocket motors that would power future ICBMs.
In contrast to the millions of cars and thousands of airplanes produced annually, satellites are produced in much lower numbers. Even OneWeb’s mega-constellation, doesn’t provide the scale needed to justify the upfront expense of automating assembly.
An Orbital ATK Minotaur 4 rocket lifted off from Cape Canveral, Florida, early Saturday morning, carrying the U.S. Defense Department's Operationally Responsive Space (ORS)-5 satellite. The launch comes as a debate is flaring up again about whether companies should be able to use converted surplus intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) motors to launch commercial satellites
A satellite that Spanish fleet operator Hispasat ordered in December 2014 largely to replace two Orbital ATK spacecraft has arrived at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan for a Proton launch in September.
With the commercial satellite market in its deepest doldrums in at least a decade, Orbital ATK says it is making up for the shortfall with increased government satellite business.
Orbital ATK will continue to support the Trident 1 and Orion rocket motors the Missile Defense Agency (MDA) uses for targets and interceptors.
A judge has dismissed a lawsuit filed by Orbital ATK seeking to stop work on a DARPA satellite servicing program, concluding the company’s claims had no basis in federal law.
The brief test of the motor, at a company facility in Utah, demonstrated its ability to pull the Orion away from an SLS in an emergency.
Senators overwhelmingly passed an amendment to an Iran-Russia sanctions bill June 15 to fix language some argued could have prevented NASA and others from launching missions on rockets that use Russian engines.
Orbital ATK plans to resume using its Antares rocket for launches of the Cygnus cargo spacecraft later this summer, as the company continues to seek additional government and commercial customers for the launch vehicle.
As Orbital ATK prepares to launch a Cygnus cargo spacecraft on an Atlas 5, the company expects to hear soon from NASA about potentially using that rocket again on future cargo missions.
A bipartisan group of 20 House members has asked the Defense Department not to alter the U.S. Air Force’s plans to fund development of new launch systems.
Space Systems Loral announced April 12 that it has completed an agreement with DARPA for a satellite servicing program that triggered a lawsuit from another company.