DULLES, Va. Officials at Orbital ATK (NYSE:OA), a provider of aerospace and defense technologies in Dulles, Virginia, are working with U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC) personnel in El Segundo, California, to certify Orbital ATK’s Next Generation Launch (NGL) system to carry national security space missions and large science and commercial satellites.
Orbital ATK is currently in early production of development hardware for NGL. To date, the company has jointly invested with the Air Force more than $200 million to develop the NGL rocket family.
In addition to launching the entire spectrum of national security payloads, the NGL family of vehicles will be capable of launching science and commercial satellites that are too large to be launched by Orbital ATK’s current Pegasus, Minotaur, and Antares space launch vehicles.
The NGL vehicles will share common propulsion, structures, and avionics systems with other company programs, including smaller space launch vehicles as well as missile defense interceptors, target vehicles, and strategic missile systems.
Under a newly signed cooperative research and development agreement (CRADA), “Orbital ATK is better able to support SMC in being the guardians of assured access to space,” says Scott Lehr, president of Orbital ATK’s Flight Systems Group. “We look forward to certifying NGL to launch National Security Space Missions.”
The next phase of the NGL program is expected to begin when the Air Force awards Launch Services Agreements in mid-2018, which would entail full vehicle and launch site development, with work taking place at company facilities in Promontory and Magna, Utah; Iuka, Mississippi; Chandler, Arizona; Kennedy Space Center, Florida, and Vandenberg Air Force Base, California.
Orbital ATK designs, builds, and delivers space, defense, and aviation systems for customers around the world, both as a prime contractor and merchant supplier. Its main products include launch vehicles and related propulsion systems; missile products, subsystems and defense electronics; precision weapons, armament systems and ammunition; satellites and associated space components and services; and advanced aerospace structures. Headquartered in Dulles, Virginia, Orbital ATK employs approximately 13,000 people across the U.S. and in several international locations.