SLS Press Conference — Live!

The SLS announcement is being made in the Senate Building, not at NASA as is the custom

Senator Bill Nelson makes the opening remarks — he explains the configuration and safety features of the Senate designed launch system….A bit odd…

Bolden up second…..he calls Kay Bailey Hutchison (a fellow Episcopalian)  the “queen bee” of this rocket system….

Bolden reads some prepared remarks….new chapter in American space exploration….a great day for NASA and the nation….yada yada yada…..did our due diligence on this thing….

First development flight targeted for 2017 with future flights to follow…


NASA, ATK Agree to Unfunded Space Act Agreement on Liberty Rocket

Press Conference

Ed Mango, Commercial Crew Program manager, NASA

  • Unfunded Space Act agreement with ATK that will run through next spring
  • NASA and ATK will share information on the rocket and human rating requirements and cooperate on an evaluation of the Liberty rocket

Kent Rominger, vice president, Strategy and Business Development, ATK Aerospace:

  • Upper stage has 45 consecutive launches as part of Ariane V
  • Can launch any of the commercial crew vehicles out there to date
  • Amazing how the upper stage matches up with the lower stage
  • In 2010, President Obama approved a new space policy saying we wanted to extend our international cooperation
  • Have a very rigorous design that was designed to lift humans from the start
  • Two commercial companies are taking technology designed to very high standards and creating a commercial rocket


NASA, ATK Plan Full-Scale Solid Rocket Motor Test for Sept. 8

WASHINGTON — NASA and Alliant Techsystems Inc. (ATK) will conduct a full-scale test of a five-segment, solid rocket motor at the ATK Aerospace Systems test facility in Promontory, Utah, at 4:05 p.m. EDT, Thursday, Sept. 8.

The static firing of the five-segment solid rocket motor, designated Development Motor-3 (DM-3), will last approximately two minutes. DM-3 is the third in a series of development motors and the most heavily instrumented solid rocket motor in NASA history, with a total of 37 test objectives measured through more than 970 instruments.


Signs of Expansion Amid Mass Layoffs

Vehicle Assembly Building at Kennedy Space Center

Space layoffs are accelerating this month in the wake of the final space shuttle flight. Meanwhile, commercial space companies are expanding in Florida, California and Texas as they ramp up programs designed to carry American astronauts into space.

First, the bad news:

  • Approximately 1,000 space shuttle workers will lose their jobs this month, including 515 at United Space Alliance’s Houston operations and 285 additional USA workers in Huntsville, Houston and Huntington Beach, Calif.
  • Boeing and Lockheed Martin are also planning layoffs
  • ATK laid off approximately 100 employees in Utah as a result of the space shuttle’s demise.


Will Boeing Choose Atlas V or Liberty to Launch CST-100?

Six months ago, I would have predicted that ULA would win this in a walk with the Atlas V over ATK’s Liberty rocket. Atlas V has a flawless flight history, can be human rated, and is relatively inexpensive as rockets go.

However, I’m not quite so sure now. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if Boeing chose Liberty.

That idea probably sounds crazy to many of my NewSpace friends. But, I think that ATK’s booster has been underrated since it was announced six months ago. The rocket has a number of strengths that have been largely overlooked, and it is being taken seriously by both NASA and Boeing.


TPIS: We Want SLS Competition, Not an ATK Earmark

TPIS PR — Washington DC — Tea Party in Space (TPIS), a non-partisan organization, today strongly condemned a letter being circulated in the US Senate that advocates a sole-source bailout for the Solid Rocket Motor industry.

The letter, addressed to NASA Administrator Charles Bolden and OMB Director Jack Lew, demands that the Administration ignore recent bipartisan calls for competing major elements of the proposed Space Launch System and instead use existing Solid Rocket Boosters made by only one company, Alliant Techsystems (ATK), in Utah.


ATK: We’ll Build Liberty With or Without NASA Funding

It looks like ATK and Astrium would move ahead with building its Liberty rocket even if it doesn’t get a portion of the $200 million NASA is set to distribute next month as part of the Commercial Crew Development (CCDev) program:

Regardless of whether the government agrees to help fund Alliant Techsystems’ rocket that would take astronauts to the International Space Station, the Utah company intends to move forward with its project because it believes there will be no shortage of commercial customers….


Tonight on Monster Chiller Horror Theatre: Arestein Returns!

Ares 1-X

NASA’s Ares I rocket was always an odd looking bird. While many rockets are large at the bottom and get progressively thinner as they near the top, this booster bucked that trend: a thin first stage with an enormous upper one. In that, I guess, it appeared somewhat more human — but not in a good way. More like Frankenstein human. Or Arestein, if you will.

The rocket’s development was a horror story, with massive cost overruns and years-long delays as engineers struggled to adapt legacy space shuttle hardware to a brand new mission. After billions were consumed, the Obama Administration canceled the program last year.

But, if you thought Ares I was gone for good, think again. It’s back for the sequel — and it’s badder than ever….


ATK/Astrium Propose Ares 1-Ariane 5 Hybrid Booster for CCDev 2


A new commercial rocket proposal based on the Ares 1 first stage and the Ariane 5 core. It’s like Frankenstein meets….rocket Frankenstein! Looks like it will definitely fly. But, is it affordable?


ATK and Astrium (an EADS Company) are working together in response to NASA’s Commercial Crew Development-2 (CCDev-2) procurement.  The team is offering NASA launch services with the Libertyâ„¢ rocket.  This new launch vehicle combines two of the world’s most reliable propulsion systems, with a collective heritage of nearly 150 successful flights.


ATK Confident of Role in NASA HLV Project

Space News reports that ATK is confident that its solid rocket boosters will continue to be part of NASA’s heavy-lift rocket design:

Solid-rocket-motor manufacturer ATK on Feb. 3 sought to persuade investors that its position in NASA’s future heavy-lift rocket program is getting stronger despite ongoing debate over the vehicle’s cost and schedule.

Minneapolis-based ATK, whose $500 million in annual NASA revenue during the shuttle era is now being reduced to around $300 million a year, said the lower figure seems stable for the foreseeable future given the state of the debate in Washington over what NASA’s heavy-lift rocket will look like.


ViviSat to Offer Satellite Life Extension Services

ViviSat Press Release

U.S. Space LLC, a U.S.-based creator of dedicated space solutions for government and commercial clients, and ATK, an aerospace, defense, and commercial products company, today announced the creation of ViviSat, a new satellite life extension venture. ViviSat provides geosynchronous satellite operators with flexible, scalable, capital-efficient, and low-risk in-orbit mission extension and protection services that can add several years to the revenue-producing life of a satellite.


ATK: Ares Solid Rocket Motor Ready for Flight Testing


Data from the second successful five segment Development Motor (DM-2) test conducted by ATK and NASA show that the new motor performed precisely as designed, providing substantially higher performance and reliability than the heritage space shuttle solid rocket booster at a lower cost.

“These extensive test results confirm the ATK five segment Solid Rocket Motor (SRM) is ready for flight testing,” said Charlie Precourt, vice president and general manager of Space Launch Systems, ATK Aerospace Systems.  “The five-segment first stage design was based on more than 30 years of safety-driven improvements on the shuttle program. The result is a higher performing, more reliable solid rocket motor, which equates to increased safety for crew and mission success for cargo.”


Frustration in Utah as House Delays NASA Funding Vote

No ATK vote upsets Bishop / Lawmaker: Congress needs to get moving to save jobs
Standard Examiner

A frustrated Rep. Rob Bishop left Washington, D.C., for Utah on Friday afternoon, taking time only to call the Standard-Examiner from the airport and lambaste House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for not holding a vote on a bill he thinks is the best compromise yet to save jobs at ATK Space Systems.