Press Release

ATK Rocket Motors Support the Launch of Gravity Probe-B

By SpaceRef Editor
April 20, 2004
Filed under , ,

ATK (Alliant Techsystems)
rocket motors and composite technologies supported today’s
successful launch of a Boeing Delta II rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base,
Calif. that will place NASA’s Gravity Probe-B spacecraft into orbit.

Gravity Probe-B will measure how space and time are warped by the presence
of the Earth, and how the Earth’s rotation drags space-time around with it.
The spacecraft will test the predictions of Albert Einstein’s general theory
of relativity.

Nine ATK GEM-40 solid propulsion strap-on boosters were used on this
launch — continuing a tradition of flight support for Delta II missions that
began in 1990. The boosters were manufactured by ATK at its Magna, Utah

Six of the boosters ignited at lift-off with the first-stage main engine.
Less than a minute later, the remaining three boosters ignited to provide
additional thrust.

The graphite epoxy cases for the GEM-40 boosters are manufactured by ATK
in Clearfield, Utah. ATK’s also builds cases for other space launch vehicles,
including Atlas, Titan IVB, Pegasus®, and Taurus® at its Utah composite

ATK is a $2.3 billion advanced weapons and space systems company employing
13,200 people in 21 states. News and information can be found on the Internet
at .

SpaceRef staff editor.