Press Release

Orbital ATK Contributions Critical to United Launch Alliance Atlas V SBIRS GEO Flight 3 Satellite Launch

By SpaceRef Editor
January 20, 2017
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Orbital ATK (NYSE: OA), a global leader in aerospace and defense technologies, provided critical hardware for today’s United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. The company contributed hardware on the third U.S. Air Force Space Based Infrared System (SBIRS) satellite launched, designated Geosynchronous Earth Orbit (GEO) Flight 3, and the ULA Atlas V launch vehicle.
The SBIRS constellation is designed to provide global, persistent, infrared and taskable surveillance capabilities to meet 21st Century demands in the areas of missile warning, missile defense, technical intelligence and battlespace awareness. Lockheed Martin Space Systems (NYSE: LMT) designed and built the GEO Flight 3 satellite for the U.S. Air Force.

“It was great to see another successful ULA Atlas V launch that flew Orbital ATK-produced structures and components for both the launch vehicle and satellite,” said Steve Earl, Vice President and General Manager of Orbital ATK’s Aerospace Structures Division. “No matter the mission, this is a really good example of the breadth of our product line and the critical role we play in almost every EELV launch.”

The Orbital ATK components utilize the latest, cutting-edge technology across multiple Orbital ATK facilities. These include large composite structures, retro rocket motors and state-of-the art propellant tanks.
For the ULA Atlas V rocket, Orbital ATK produced the 10-foot diameter composite heat shield, which provides higher performance with lower weight, and essential protection for the first stage of the launch vehicle from engine exhaust temperatures in excess of 4,000 degrees Fahrenheit. The assembly was fabricated using advanced fiber placement manufacturing techniques at Orbital ATK’s Iuka, Mississippi facility. This is the 69th Atlas V launch using Orbital ATK-built composite structures.

This launch also marked the 34th successful flight of Orbital ATK produced retro rocket motors. Eight of these solid motors supported separation of the spent first stage. The Atlas retrorocket is built at Orbital ATK’s Missile Defense and Controls facility in Elkton, Maryland. Orbital ATK manufactured the Reaction Control System propellant tank for the Atlas V at its Commerce, California facility.
For the GEO Flight 3 satellite, Orbital ATK provided propellant and pressurant tanks manufactured in its Commerce, California facility.

The SBIRS constellation is designed to deliver timely, reliable, accurate and vital missile warning information to a host of officials, including the President of the United States, the Secretary of Defense, combatant commanders, joint task force commanders, the intelligence community and other key decision makers. The SBIRS GEO Flight 4 satellite is scheduled for launch in the fourth quarter of 2017.

About Orbital ATK

Orbital ATK is a global leader in aerospace and defense technologies. The company designs, builds and delivers space, defense and aviation systems for customers around the world, both as a prime contractor and merchant supplier. Its main products include launch vehicles and related propulsion systems; missile products, subsystems and defense electronics; precision weapons, armament systems and ammunition; satellites and associated space components and services; and advanced aerospace structures. Headquartered in Dulles, Virginia, Orbital ATK employs approximately 12,000 people in 18 states across the U.S. and in several international locations. For more information, visit

SpaceRef staff editor.