— Now that AlliantTechsystems (ATK) has consolidated all of its space activities into one business unit, the new leader of that group is focused on expanding that business beyond its current capabilities in launch, satellite manufacturing and advanced materials.

ATK of Edina, Minn., announced June 10 it is combining its launch, satellite manufacturing and other space-related groups into a single business unit to be based in
, and headed by Carl Marchetto, who joined ATK two months ago.

The new group will include the company’s Utah-based launch vehicle and propulsion businesses, along with its
, division that makes small satellites, subsystems and components. The new group also will oversee ATK’s work on advanced materials for launchers and satellites.

The newly restructured Space Systems group will have about 6,600 employees and operate in 10 states. ATK is projecting 2009 revenue for the group will be approximately $1.65 billion. Marchetto said the group’s Herndon headquarters eventually would house 20-25 people.

ATK announced in January that Marchetto, who at the time was executive vice president of Orbital Sciences Corp.’s Space Systems group, would join the company in April to lead the formation of the Space Systems group, ATK’s fourth business group. Before moving to Orbital, he led Eastman Kodak’s Commercial and Government Systems group and also worked at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Lockheed Martin’s Astro Space division.

At the time Marchetto was hired ATK was planning on buying MacDonald, Dettweiler and Associates of Canada and making it a major part of ATK’s space capabilities. But by early May the deal had fallen through because of Canadian government opposition to the sale of the country’s most prominent space company with expertise in satellite manufacturing, space robotic systems and remote sensing products and services.

With that deal dead and ATK’s existing space groups now unified, Marchetto said developing a growth strategy is his primary immediate goal. “My focus is where we grow and [determining] how we get there – through organic [growth] or through acquisitions,” he said in a June 10 telephone interview.

said he has two types of acquisition targets in mind: a top tier manufacturer of spacecraft components, subsystems and payloads and a company with expertise in turning satellite imagery and other data into value-added products.

He said his main goal for the company’s launch business is to be a good steward of the resources for that business and continue being the supplier of choice for a number of launch vehicles. “People recognize that ATK is an experienced, credible supplier and partner,” Marchetto said. “People are coming to us to satisfy needs in different areas and we want to be a supplier of choice.”

Ron Dittemore, who was president of ATK’s Launch Systems group, will become the company’s senior vice president of strategic partnerships, reporting directly to ATK Chairman and Chief Executive Dan Murphy. In a June 10 press release, ATK said Dittemore will lead the company’s efforts in support of NASA’s space exploration vision.

“This new organization consolidates ATK’s full-spectrum space services capabilities, provides a single face to our customers, and positions us for future growth in space,” Murphy said in the release. “Under Carl Marchetto’s leadership, I am confident that the business will deliver enhanced value for our shareholders.”

In a telephone interview June 10, Dittemore said his new role would give him an opportunity to “educate, inform and influence” NASA’s stakeholders at a time he believes it is critical to keep the agency on track.