Orbital ATK supplied a composite fairing component and nine graphite epoxy motors ““ GEM 40 ““ for a United Launch Alliance-built Delta II rocket that took off Saturday from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.
The first Joint Polar Satellite System that NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration developed through a collaborative effort launched aboard the Delta II rocket to monitor ice cover, vegetation and other environmental conditions as well as help weather forecasters predict storm systems, Orbital ATK said Monday.
“As the Delta II program nears its retirement, more than 1,020 GEM 40 strap-on boosters have helped launch 153 Delta II missions,“ said Charlie Precourt, vice president and general manager of Orbital ATK's propulsion systems division.
Precourt added that Orbital ATK has begun to develop the GEM 63 motor that will be used on Atlas V rockets and other future launch platforms.
Orbital ATK produced the GEM 40 motors and composite cases in Utah and manufactured the payload fairing component at its Iuka, Mississippi-based facility.
Other components that Orbital ATK produced for the launch vehicle include the second stage nitrogen and helium pressurization bottles, diaphragm propellant tank for the JPSS-1 satellite and heat pipes for two instruments on the spacecraft.
Orbital ATK's space systems group has started to build JPSS-2 and has options to develop the third and fourth JPSS satellites in the future.