ATK solid propulsion and composite
structure technologies supported the launch on May 4 of a Boeing Delta II
7920-10L rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. that successfully
placed into orbit NASA’s Aqua Earth observation satellite.

Nine GEM 40 strap-on boosters manufactured by ATK Thiokol Propulsion,
Promontory, Utah, at its facility in Magna, Utah, provided the initial thrust
for the Boeing Delta II rocket. Six of the boosters were ignited at lift off
with the rocket’s first-stage main engine, with the remaining three boosters
ignited shortly thereafter. The spent motors were then jettisoned from the
rocket as it continued its mission. GEM-40 boosters have flown on Boeing
Delta II missions since 1990.

The composite cases for the GEM 40 boosters, which are manufactured by ATK
Aerospace Composite Structures, Clearfield, Utah, are made of graphite epoxy
material. The cases, which are fabricated using a process first introduced by
the company in 1958 and modernized and automated over the years, support space
launches by a variety of vehicles, including Delta, Titan IV, Pegasus, and

The Aqua satellite, the latest in the Earth Observing System series, will
collect atmospheric measurements as part of a long-term NASA research study of
changes in the global environment. The satellite’s instruments will gather
important data about global energy and water cycles, enabling scientists to
monitor climate variations and trends.

ATK Thiokol Propulsion is the world’s leading supplier of solid-propellant
rocket motors. In addition to the GEM-40 booster, the company manufactures
the GEM-46 booster flown on the Boeing Delta III rocket. Later this year, the
GEM-60 booster will fly for the first time on the new Boeing Delta IV rocket.

Patented manufacturing techniques together with strict and uncompromising
attention to process control, schedule, and affordability have made ATK
Aerospace Composite Structures one of the world’s leading manufacturers of
high-performance composite structures. The company produces structures for
military and commercial aircraft, space launch vehicles, satellites, and

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
11,600 people and has three business groups: Aerospace, Precision Systems,
and Ammunition. ATK news and information can be found on the Internet at