Alliant Techsystems solid propulsion and composite technologies supported the successful launch today of an air-launched PegasusĀ® XL rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. The rocket carried three microsatellites comprising NASA’s Space Technology No. 5 (ST-5) mission into orbit.

The ST-5 Project is a part of NASA’s New Millennium Program, which was created to identify, develop, build, and test innovative technologies and concepts for use in future missions. Its missions are guided by future needs of NASA’s Earth and Space Science program.

ATK’s Orion solid propulsion motors provided power for all three stages of Pegasus and have flown on all Pegasus rockets since its first mission in 1990. The composite payload fairing, filament-wound solid rocket motor cases, and the interstage that form the vehicle’s main structure were also produced by ATK.

Since its maiden flight in 1990, the Pegasus rocket has flown on 37 missions and launched more than 73 satellites – becoming the world’s standard for affordable and reliable small launch vehicles. The ST-5 mission was the 23rd consecutive successful launch of the Pegasus system.

An L-1011 aircraft carried the Pegasus XL to a location offshore from Vandenberg Air Force Base where it was released in a horizontal position before igniting its first-stage Orion motor.

ATK is a $3.1 billion advanced weapon and space systems company employing approximately 15,000 people in 23 states. News and information can be found on the Internet at http://www.atk.com .