ATK Provides Propulsion and Composite Structures for Successful Launch of Pegasus Rocket

june 25 2012

ATK supported the successful launch of an Orbital Sciences Corporation air-launched Pegasus XL rocket from the Ronald Reagan Test Site at Kwajalein Atoll in the Pacific Ocean. The Pegasus rocket carried NASA's Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR) satellite, an Orbital-built spacecraft designed to study high energy X-rays in the universe.

ATK provided propulsion for all three stages, many of the composite structures of the Pegasus rocket, as well as the solar array and structures for the NuSTAR spacecraft. ATK's Orion motors – manufactured in Magna, Utah – have provided reliable propulsion for the Pegasus since its first mission in 1990. The Pegasus vehicle's payload fairing, interstage, raceways, and the filament-wound solid rocket motor cases were produced by ATK in Clearfield, Utah.

The Pegasus traveled under Orbital's L-1011 "Stargazer" carrier aircraft to an altitude of approximately 40,000 feet, where it was released horizontally before the first-stage Orion 50 SXL motor ignited. Approximately 130 seconds into the flight, the Orion 50 XL second-stage ignited and a composite payload fairing was jettisoned. After a several-minute coast period, the third-stage Orion 38 motor burned until approximately 10 minutes into the flight, when the Pegasus released NuSTAR into orbit.

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