Press Release

ATK Composite Technology Supports Maiden Flight of Japan’s H-IIA Space Launch Vehicle

By SpaceRef Editor
August 29, 2001
Filed under ,

ATK (Alliant Techsystems) said rocket motor case and advanced
composite material technologies developed by its Aerospace Group supported the
successful maiden launch today of Japan’s new H-IIA space launch vehicle from
Tanegashima Space Center, Tanegashima Island, Japan.

In a unique arrangement and in cooperation with IHI Aerospace Co., Ltd.
(IA), Tokyo, Japan, (formerly Nissan Motor Co. Ltd., Aerospace Division), ATK
Thiokol Propulsion Company, Promontory, Utah, designed the composite rocket
motor case for the H-IIA vehicle’s two ground-lit Solid-Rocket Boosters
(SRB-As), using proven technology from its CASTOR 120® motor.
The company
also supplied its patented TCR(TM) graphite-epoxy, preimpregnated (prepreg)
resin materials for use in constructing the case.
The case technology was
provided under an export license approved by the U.S. State Department.

The design and manufacturing process for the SRB-A cases was validated at
ATK Thiokol Propulsion Company’s Promontory, Utah, facility.
IA manufactured
the cases in Tomioka, Japan, using TCR prepreg tow (fiber string) and fabric
materials, which have the highest production strength of any composite

ATK Thiokol Propulsion Company has supplied materials for approximately
18 cases to IA for the H-IIA development and manufacturing program.

The H-IIA family of launch vehicles, which will comprise five separate
vehicle configurations, is being developed under the direction and funding of
the National Space Development Agency of Japan (NASDA).
All five
configurations will feature ATK’s rocket motor case and composite technology.

“This launch is another successful step in building and continuing our
relationship with NASDA and the Japanese aerospace industry that began over
30 years ago with the N-1 vehicle,” said Oren Phillips, vice president,
business development, ATK Thiokol Propulsion Company.
“Thiokol Corporation
(now ATK Thiokol Propulsion Company) produced the third-stage motor for the
Japanese N-1 vehicle.
As one of the original third-stage motor program
managers, it is with great pride that ATK Thiokol Propulsion Company is also a
supplier for the H-IIA launch vehicle, which demonstrates new capabilities and
is a valuable addition to the space industry around the world.”

The H-IIA vehicle configuration flown on the maiden flight has an LE-7A
liquid engine in the core and two SRB-A motors, and is capable of placing
payloads weighing up to four metric tons into orbit.
The first vehicle did
not have a satellite payload, but carried a three-ton weight to simulate
future spacecraft loads and a mirrored ball to test for orbital insertion.

NASDA’s next flight of the H-IIA is scheduled for early 2002.

ATK is a $1.6 billion aerospace and defense company with leading positions
in munitions, precision capabilities, propulsion and composite structures.
The company, which is headquartered in Hopkins, Minn., employs approximately
9,600 people and has two business segments:
Aerospace and Defense.
ATK news
and information can be found on the Internet at

SpaceRef staff editor.