Press Release

ATK Will Supply Composite Telescope Structure for New NASA Space Observatory

By SpaceRef Editor
November 22, 2002
Filed under , ,

Participation on TRW Team Expected to Generate Sales of Approximately $15 Million

ATK (Alliant Techsystems) said it is the composite structures
supplier on a team led by prime contractor TRW that will build
NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope, a powerful new space-based observatory
designed to replace the Hubble Space Telescope. Sales under the teaming
agreement with TRW are expected to be approximately $15 million.

ATK Composites, Clearfield, Utah, will be responsible for design,
fabrication, and testing of the composite telescope structure, which includes
backing structures and struts for the telescope’s two deployable mirrors and
support structures for the aft optics. The structures will be manufactured
from a proprietary graphite hybrid material using advanced hand layup and
precision bonding techniques specifically designed for critical thermal
distortion performance at cryogenic temperatures.

TRW will design and fabricate the observatory’s primary mirror and
spacecraft, and will be responsible for systems integration, pre-flight
testing, and on-orbit checkout of the observatory. Other key teammates on the
project include Ball Aerospace and Eastman Kodak.

“The James Webb Space Telescope will require thermally stable structures
that perform with uncompromising precision,” said Travis Campbell, president,
ATK Composites. “We’re proud to provide that capability and be teamed with
TRW in the development of this sophisticated, new science instrument with
unprecedented capabilities.”

The next-generation telescope will be able to peer farther into space and
with greater clarity than any previous telescope at a fraction of the size and
overall cost of the Hubble Space Telescope. Scientists hope to use the
telescope to gain a greater understanding of the origins and structure of the
universe and make predictions about its ultimate fate.

The telescope will operate in cryogenic temperatures below -390 degrees F
in a Lagrange 2 orbit over 940,000 miles from Earth. When deployed, its
primary mirror will be approximately 20 feet in diameter.

ATK Composites has a 30-year heritage in the design and fabrication of
dimensionally stable composite structures for space applications, including
mirror support sleeves and optical support structures for the Chandra X-ray
Observatory and eight optical benches for the Hubble Space Telescope. ATK
also provides high-quality composite structures for military and commercial
aircraft, space launch vehicles, spacecraft, and weapons systems.
Manufacturing facilities are located in Clearfield and Magna, Utah, Iuka,
Miss., Rocket Center, W. Va., and Huntsville, Ala.

ATK is a $2.1 billion aerospace and defense company with leading positions
in propulsion, composite structures, munitions, and precision capabilities.
The company, which is headquartered in Edina, Minn., employs approximately
11,500 people and has three business groups: Aerospace, Precision Systems,
and Ammunition. ATK news and information can be found on the Internet at .

TRW ( ), Cleveland, Ohio, is a $17.2 billion company that
provides advanced-technology products and services for the aerospace, systems
and automotive markets.

SpaceRef staff editor.