SALT LAKE CITY, Feb. 11, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Alliant Techsystems (NYSE: ATK) Aerospace Systems was honored to be selected as recipient of NASA's George M. Low 2010 award for its quality and performance on multiple NASA contracts. This selection makes the fourth time the company has been chosen for this prestigious award.
The George M. Low Award is NASA's premier quality and performance award for its prime and subcontractors. This award program recognizes large and small businesses that demonstrate excellence and outstanding technical and managerial achievements in quality and performance on NASA-related contracts or subcontracts.
"It is an honor to be recognized for our quality, innovation and performance on the work we do for NASA," said Charlie Precourt, vice president and general manager, Space Launch Systems, ATK Aerospace Systems. "It is a tremendous confirmation to our workforce of their dedication to ensuring success, even during challenging times."
ATK's NASA programs include space shuttle solid rocket boosters and booster separation motors, Ares I first stage, Orion launch abort system's abort motor, and attitude control solid rocket motors, optical structures for the James Webb Space Telescope, Orion's UltraFlex solar arrays, and International Space Station structures, among others.
Space shuttle program
Over a three-year period ATK performed five full-scale ground tests, cast 15 million pounds of propellant, and delivered 14 flight sets all on schedule and within budget, while ensuring safe operations.
Ares I first stage program
As the prime for Ares I first stage, ATK is the complete stage integrator, which includes responsibility for human space flight first stage avionics and control systems, recovery systems, stage separation systems, pyrotechnic systems and large structural assemblies. The five-segment design was accomplished in 11 months, with 10 successful parachute recovery system tests and 11 ground tests of motors, igniters and stage separation systems were successfully performed including two full-scale five-segment tests. The company also served as the prime for the first stage of the Ares I-X test flight which successfully launched October 28, 2009.
Ares I Avionics
As part of this program, the company developed an innovative engineering development lab that enabled early risk reduction on the program as well as detection of system integration issues. In three years ATK was able to take a human-rated avionics subsystem from concept of design all the way through subsystem level testing.
Orion Launch Abort System (LAS) Abort Motor
ATK produced an innovative high-thrust (~400K lbf), turn-flow motor to serve as the main abort propulsion for the LAS. The program successfully completed development with five subscale turn-flow static tests, an open-air igniter static test and one full-scale ground static firing demonstrating the new solid rocket motor concept and validating performance models. These tests culminated in the highly successful Pad Abort-1 flight test, all while executing within performance, cost and schedule requirements.
Orion Launch Abort System (LAS) Attitude Control Solid Rocket Motor
ATK produced a revolutionary solid propulsion attitude control motor (ACM) for NASA which vastly improves crew safety by providing pitch and yaw control for the Orion capsule in the event of a launch abort at all altitudes and conditions. The motor and single-fault-tolerant control system, including controllers, software, actuators, and batteries, were developed in a series of component level tests, five flight-weight single and double valve tests, and two full scale ground tests. This comprehensive testing validated all system models, hardware, and software, ensuring a highly successful PA-1 flight test where the ACM performed exactly as designed.
James Webb Space Telescope (JWST)
ATK is a key partner on JWST responsible for the design, engineering, fabrication and testing of the Optical Telescope Element and Integrated Science Module structural assemblies. The development of these critically stable structures have advanced state of the art for cryogenic composites providing operational stability of 38 nanometers at 30K (-406 degrees F). The primary structures include the Primary Mirror Backplane Support, Deployment Tower Assembly, Secondary Mirror Structures, and ISIM Optical Bench. The company has achieved excellent performance ratings on this program, earned three gold supplier awards, and was recognized for outstanding contributions by earning the 2010 Goddard Space Flight Center Contractor Excellence Award.
Orion Solar Arrays
ATK's innovation is highlighted in the design of the 19 ft diameter round UltraFlex solar arrays for NASA's Orion crew vehicle The design is based on the solar arrays used to power NASA's successful Mars Phoenix Lander program, and further developed into a larger Orion-size array as part of ground testing performed on NASA's New Millennium Space Technology 8 program (ST-8)
International Space Station
ATK supplied the 100 ft long deployable masts used to unfurl the eight large ISS solar arrays, as well as key components for the two giant Solar Alpha Rotary Joints (SARJ) which allow sun tracking of the ISS solar arrays. ATK's contributions were key to helping build the ISS and bring it into full operation. "These programs highlight the breadth of ATK's NASA programs," said Precourt. "I believe it speaks volumes about our culture and the work of our employees who continue to meet and exceed expectations in our performance."
This award was named after George M. Low, a pioneering NASA leader who was dedicated to quality and excellence. George M. Low's career and achievements spanned many fields, including space science, aeronautics, technology and education. He provided management and direction for the Mercury, Gemini, Apollo and advanced manned missions programs.
ATK is an aerospace, defense, and commercial products company with operations in 24 states, Puerto Rico, and internationally, and revenues of approximately $4.8 billion. News and information can be found on the Internet at www.atk.com.