Press Release

ATK’s Engineering Expertise Enables NASA’s Discovery of Water On The Moon

By SpaceRef Editor
September 29, 2009
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ATK’s Engineering Expertise Enables NASA’s Discovery of Water On The Moon

ATK Plays Critical Role on NASA’s Moon Mineralogy Mapper Instrument

Alliant Techsystems (NYSE:ATK) played a critical role in the design and engineering of the Moon Mineralogy Mapper (M3) instrument which helped NASA confirm the existence of water molecules on the lunar surface. The M3 instrument on board the Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft, along with 2 other NASA spacecraft, Cassini and Epoxi, has contributed to the confirmation of water molecules on the moon.

ATK’s contribution to M3 included the design, analysis and fabrication of compact, lightweight structures capable of surviving the rigors of spaceflight while meeting exacting science requirements. An important element in the success of M3 is the engineering team’s ability to derive, achieve, and maintain the critical optical alignments necessary for this state-of-the-art hyperspectral imager to attain performance beyond that of previous similar instruments.

In addition, the multi-discipline engineering capabilities of ATK were utilized on nearly every aspect of the M3 design. From mechanical and electronic computer aided designs, to optical, structural, and thermal analysis, ATK’s technical team worked closely with its counterparts at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory to rapidly respond to spacecraft changes as they developed.

The Chandrayaan-1 satellite, which is India’s ambitious first mission beyond Earth’s orbit, is carrying a payload of 11 science instruments, including the moon mineralogy mapper. Led for NASA by principal investigator Carle Pieters of Brown University, the Moon Mineralogy Mapper was designed and built by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California.

ATK is a premier aerospace and defense company with more than 18,000 employees 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.