After launching three of its last four Cygnus missions from Florida, Orbital ATK is planning to begin a string of cargo launches to the International Space Station on its Antares rocket with one now scheduled for Nov. 12.
As the deadline nears for an Air Force competition to fund development of new launch vehicles, Orbital ATK announced Nov. 7 what it called an “important milestone” for its proposed launcher.
The forward-leaning technology arm of the U.S. Defense Department is betting that in just a few years, the business of sending robots to high orbit to repair and refresh satellites will be so successful that the government and the industry should now begin to discuss rules and protocols.
A new market for super high-speed weapons is fueling investments in rocket engine technologies.
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.