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.

“If the program is executed the way it has been planned, and the way Congress has laid out the authorization for execution of NASA’s plan, it should be a fairly smooth transition” from ATK’s current work on the Ares rocket, which has been cancelled by NASA, to work on the future heavy-lift rocket, ATK Chief Executive Mark W. DeYoung said in a Feb. 3 conference call with investors. “The view we have — that ATK will play a critical role … in these future vehicles –- continues to solidify as time goes on. ATK’s position for next-generation NASA vehicles continues to improve.”

ATK is getting hit hard by the end of the space shuttle program and the Obama Administration’s decision to cancel the Constellation program. Space News reports that the latter wiped $650 million in future revenues off the books.

Congress has mandated that NASA build a HLV from shuttle- and Ares V-derived components, including ATK’s solid rocket motors. NASA said last month that a preliminary analysis of that design shows it cannot be built on the cost and time table that Congress has specified.

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