Alliant Techsystems (NYSE:ATK) announced that it awarded United Space Alliance (USA) a $257 Million contract to perform subcontractor support to ATK for the NASA’s Ares I and Ares 1-X programs through the Design, Development, Test and Engineering (DDT&E) phase. The contract includes engineering, deceleration system development and technical KSC operations support for Stage I activities

ATK is the prime contractor for Ares I first stage, supporting NASA with overall requirements maturation, system integration and establishment of interfaces within subsystems. The Ares I launch vehicle, which is slated to replace the Space Shuttle, utilizes a five-segment reusable booster for its first stage which is derived from the twin four-segment boosters used to launch the Shuttle.

USA’s subcontract work includes Ares 1-X tasks to support the test launch this year, engineering support, refurbishment of booster components and subsystems for the DDT&E first stage, and procurement of several heritage avionics and ordnance components. The company will also have a role in the design, development and testing of the deceleration subsystem. The new parachutes for Ares I were designed and manufactured by USA at the Kennedy Space Center under an earlier subcontract to ATK.

“We have established a strong major subcontractor partnership with USA that will builds on years of working together on the Space Shuttle program, and provides a strong team going forward for the Ares I development,” said Mike Kahn, executive vice president ATK Space Systems. “Data gathered from the Ares 1-X test flight will validate Ares I design and development in preparation for future test flights, including Ares I-Y, Orion 1 and 2 over the next couple of years. It is an exciting time for the program as we enter the test phase of Ares I, and we are glad to have USA on the team.”

“During the past year ATK successfully conducted three major ground tests for Ares I and Ares 1-X, and has been shipping hardware to KSC for the Ares 1-X test flight. As Ares I operations grow in Florida we are pleased that USA can apply its Shuttle skills to Ares, and transition its workforce just as we have been doing with the rest of the first stage development,” Kahn added.

“We are excited to be working together with ATK to enable NASA’s success on the Ares I-X demonstration flight and the delivery of the Ares I rocket,” said Dick Covey, President and Chief Executive Officer of USA. “Our workforce brings years of spaceflight operations experience and design knowledge to the table, and putting this valuable asset to work on the Constellation program makes perfect sense as we make the transition from Shuttle to Constellation.”

ATK is a premier aerospace and defense company with more than 17,000 employees in 21 states and approximately $4.5 billion in revenue. News and information can be found on the Internet at

United Space Alliance is a world leader in space operations with extensive experience in all aspects of the field. Headquartered in Houston, USA has 10,000 employees working in Texas, Florida and Alabama for NASA’s Space Shuttle, International Space Station and Constellation programs as well as space operations customers in the commercial and international space industry sectors.

Certain information discussed in this press release constitutes forward-looking statements as defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Although ATK believes that the expectations reflected in such forward-looking statements are based on reasonable assumptions, it can give no assurance that its expectations will be achieved. Forward-looking information is subject to certain risks, trends and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those projected. Among those factors are: changes in governmental spending, budgetary policies and product sourcing strategies; the company’s competitive environment; the terms and timing of awards and contracts; and economic conditions. ATK undertakes no obligation to update any forward-looking statements. For further information on factors that could impact ATK, and statements contained herein, please refer to ATK’s most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K and any subsequent quarterly reports on Form 10-Q and current reports on Form 8-K filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.