For the first time, ATK
(Alliant Techsystems) supported a Boeing Delta IV Medium rocket
throughout all stages of its mission to deploy the Air Force’s Defense
Satellite Communications System (DSCS) spacecraft, DSCS III B63, from Cape
Canaveral, Fla.

ATK Composites, Clearfield, Utah, provided a four-meter diameter composite
thermal shield that protected the RS-68 main engine during lift-off as well as
the centerbody and liquid Oxygen skirt for the common booster core. ATK
Composites also provided a 6.7-meter-long interstage that joined the common
booster core and the second stage as well as an 11.6 meter long payload
fairing and payload attach assembly that housed the satellite. The
structures, made of high-strength, lightweight graphite/epoxy material, were
produced at ATK Composites’ Southern Composites Center, Iuka, Miss, using
advanced hand layup techniques.

ATK Thiokol Propulsion, Promontory, Utah, designed and produced the nozzle
for the RS-68 engine as well as the nozzle’s thermal protection material,
capable of shielding it from the extreme heat of launch when external
temperatures can exceed 4,000 degrees F. The Boeing RS-68 is the largest
hydrogen fueled engine in the world, utilizing an ATK nozzle that is the first
of its kind in a liquid booster engine.

The Boeing Delta IV family of rockets is part of the U.S. Air Force’s
Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) program, which is designed to reduce
launch costs and provide assured access to space. The Delta IV Medium launch
vehicle is one of five vehicle configurations in the Boeing Delta IV family.
Three of the configurations in the Medium + series use either two or four
solid rocket strap-on GEM-60 graphite epoxy motors produced by ATK Thiokol
Propulsion’s Magna, Utah, facility. ATK Composites provides approximately 35
various part configurations for the Boeing Delta IV family. The first launch
of a Delta IV vehicle occurred on Nov. 20, 2002.

ATK is a $2.2 billion aerospace and defense company with strong positions
in propulsion, composite structures, munitions, precision capabilities, and
civil and sporting ammunition. The company, which is headquartered in Edina,
Minn., employs approximately 12,000 people and has three business groups:
Aerospace, Precision Systems, and Ammunition and Related Products. ATK news
and information can be found on the Internet at .