Press Release

ATK Technologies Support Launch of ULA’s Delta IV Rocket Carrying WGS-4

By SpaceRef Editor
January 19, 2012
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ATK (NYSE: ATK) composite, propulsion and spacecraft technologies supported today’s successful launch of a United Launch Alliance Delta IV rocket from Space Launch Complex 37 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla. This rocket carried the Wideband Global SATCOM (WGS-4) into orbit for the U.S. Air Force.

This was the second time the Delta IV medium-plus rocket featured four ATK 60-inch-diameter Graphite Epoxy Motors (GEM). The 53-foot-long motors were mounted in pairs on opposing sides of the rocket, with one fixed and one vectorable nozzle per side. They burned for 90 seconds and provided more than 1.1 million pounds of thrust to deliver the WGS-4 satellite to its determined orbit. The composite cases, nose cones and aeroskirts for the GEM motors were fabricated at ATK’s Clearfield, Utah facility.

The solid rocket motors were produced at its Magna, Utah facility. ATK has manufactured 51 GEM-60 boosters for the Delta IV launch vehicle since the initial flight in 2002
The nozzle for Delta IV’s RS-68 engine was designed and manufactured at ATK’s Promontory, Utah facility. The Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne-built RS-68 is the largest hydrogen-fueled engine in the world. ATK also designed and produced the nozzle’s thermal protection material, which is capable of shielding the nozzle from the extreme heat of launch when external temperatures can exceed 4,000 degrees F.

In total, ATK supplied nine key composite structures for the Delta IV medium-plus launch vehicle. The structures are five meters in diameter and range from one to fifteen meters in length. They are produced using advanced hand layup and machining and inspection techniques at ATK’s manufacturing facilities in Iuka, Miss., and Clearfield, Utah.
ATK also provided the propellant tank for the Delta IV upper stage roll control system. The tanks were manufactured at ATK’s Commerce, Calif. facility.

The WGS-4 mission will be the fourth satellite of the WGS system that provides flexible, high-capacity communications for the nation’s warfighters. WGS supports the defense communications system, the U.S. Army’s ground mobile forces, U.S. Air Force airborne terminals, U.S. Navy ships at sea, the White House Communications Agency, the U.S. State Department, and other special users. WGS provides an order of magnitude increase in military communications’ increased bandwidth, providing high data rate and long-haul communications for marines, soldiers, sailors and airmen worldwide.

ATK is an aerospace, defense, and commercial products company with operations in 22 states, Puerto Rico, and internationally, and revenues of approximately $4.8 billion. News and information can be found on the Internet at

SpaceRef staff editor.