Alliant Techsystems (ATK) has been selected by Orbital Sciences Corporation to provide the attitude control motor (ACM) for NASA’s Orion crew exploration vehicle launch abort system (LAS). The new LAS contract is valued at approximately $70m.
The ACM adds to ATK’s content on the LAS, which already includes the primary launch abort motor. Work on the ACM will be performed at ATK facilities in Elkton, Maryland.
ATK will lead an industry team including Moog, Buffalo, New York and Fiber Materials, Biddeford, Maine in the development of the attitude control motor. According to ATK, the ACM will utilise proven space-qualified propellant and gas generator technologies and ATK’s proportional valve. An array of eight valves will be used to provide the thrust needed to properly orient the Orion capsule for safe recovery in the event of a variety of possible launch abort scenarios.
The Orion crew exploration vehicle is the successor to the Space Shuttle as NASA’s primary vehicle for future human space exploration. In the event of an emergency during launch, the LAS will allow the astronaut crew to safely escape, with the ATK developed ACM playing a critical role in the mission as the capsule is jettisoned away from the launch vehicle.
The Orion LAS will be demonstrated during an abort system test that is scheduled to take place in 2008 at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico.