Orbital ATK, Inc. (NYSE: OA), a global leader in aerospace and defense technologies, provided critical hardware for the United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V vehicle that launched a NASA spacecraft on a first-of-its-kind mission today from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida.

Now on its way to a near-Earth asteroid named Bennu, NASA’s OSIRIS-REx (Origins- Spectral Interpretation-Resource Identification-Security-Regolith Explorer) spacecraft will rendezvous with asteroid Bennu in 2018, conduct a two-year detailed survey of Bennu from orbit and collect a sample and bring it back to Earth in 2023. The samples will be the first for a U.S. mission, giving insight into the early formation of our solar system, and possibly providing clues to the origin of life on Earth. Lockheed Martin Space Systems (NYSE:LMT) designed and built the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft for NASA.

“It’s an honor to play a part in this first-of-its-kind mission for NASA and see another ULA launch in which Orbital ATK structures and components contributed to the success of both the ULA launch vehicle and NASA spacecraft,” said Scott Lehr, President of Orbital ATK’s Flight Systems Group.

For the ULA Atlas V rocket, Orbital ATK produced the 10-foot diameter composite heat shield, which provides essential protection for the first stage of the launch vehicle. The assembly was fabricated using advanced fiber placement manufacturing techniques at Orbital ATK’s Iuka, Mississippi, facility. The ULA Atlas V rocket flew in the 411 vehicle configuration with a four-meter fairing. This is the 64th Atlas V launch using Orbital ATK- built composite structures.

This flight also marked the 30th successful flight of the Orbital ATK retro motors. Eight of these solid motors supported separation of the spent first stage. The Atlas retrorocket is built at Orbital ATK’s Missile Defense and Controls facility in Elkton, Maryland.

Additionally, Orbital ATK manufactured the fuel and pressurant tanks for the OSIRIS- REx spacecraft as well as the Reaction Control System propellant tank for the ULA Atlas V at its facility in Commerce, California.

About Orbital ATK

Orbital ATK is a global leader in aerospace and defense technologies. The company designs, builds and delivers space, defense and aviation systems for customers around the world, both as a prime contractor and merchant supplier. Its main products include launch vehicles and related propulsion systems; missile products, subsystems and defense electronics; precision weapons, armament systems and ammunition; satellites and associated space components and services; and advanced aerospace structures. Headquartered in Dulles, Virginia, Orbital ATK employs approximately 12,000 people in 18 states across the U.S. and in several international locations. For more information, visit www.orbitalatk.com.