A composite structure
fabricated by ATK (Alliant Techsystems) is an integral part of a
new camera installed last week on the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) by
astronauts from the Space Shuttle Columbia as part of a servicing mission to
the orbiting astronomical observatory.

The graphite epoxy bench produced by the Space Structures Division of ATK
Aerospace Composite Structures, Magna, Utah, for Ball Aerospace serves as a
high-precision, stable truss for the Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS), which
is expected to increase the space telescope’s discovery efficiency by a factor
of ten.
The new camera will be five times more sensitive than the current
Faint Object Camera on the Hubble, and will have more than twice its viewing

Travis Campbell, president, ATK Aerospace Composite Structures, said the
strength, light weight, and stability of advanced composite materials in
extreme temperatures and harsh environmental conditions make them ideally
suited for high-performance aerospace applications like the Hubble Space

“The high degree of thermal stability of these materials ensure no
dimensional changes in their structure across the operating temperature span,”
said Campbell.
“This precise stability is absolutely essential for the
astronomical observations the Hubble telescope perf15 — and the critical
expertise needed to build these kinds of structures is the reason why ATK was
selected for this project.”

More than 600 individual components were fabricated and bonded together to
form the composite bench, which measures approximately seven-feet long,
three-feet wide, and three-feet high.

ATK has fabricated and tested eight of the optical benches for the Hubble
telescope, including the current NICMOS program.
All of these composite
structures programs, which are critical to the performance of the HST, were in
support of the Ball Aerospace HST team.

ATK pioneered the use of composite materials in space applications with
the fabrication of a graphite truss for Fairchild Industries’ ATS-F
communications satellite, which was placed into orbit in 1973.
The company’s
graphite composite materials also have been used to construct the high-gain
antenna for NASA’s Space Station, antenna assemblies for the NASA
Scatterometer, and antenna ribs and struts for the Tracking and Data Relay
Satellite System.

ATK is a $2 billion aerospace and defense company with leading positions
in propulsion, composite structures, munitions, and precision capabilities.
The company, which is headquartered in Edina, Minn., employs approximately
11,200 people.
ATK news and information can be found on the Internet at