Last week, the United Launch Alliance (ULA) successfully launched its Atlas V rocket carrying the U.S. Navy’s fourth Mobile User Objective System satellite (MUOS-4). Aerospace technology company Orbital ATK made critical composite structures for both the rocket and the satellite. According to ULA, this is ULA’s eighth launch in 2015, and the second MUOS satellite launched in 2015. They add this is the 56th Atlas V launch using Orbital ATK-built composite structures.
“It was great to see another successful ULA Atlas V launch that flew Orbital ATK-produced structures and components for both the launch vehicle and satellite,” said Scott Lehr, President of Orbital ATK’s Flight Systems Group. “Once again, this is a really good example of the breadth of our product line and the critical role we play in almost every Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) launch.”
According to a September 2 press release, Orbital ATK used advanced fiber placement manufacturing and automated inspection techniques to make three components for the ULA Atlas V, including a 10-foot-long composite thermal shield that protects the first stage engine, the Centaur Interstage Adapter (CISA) that houses the second stage engine and the “boat tail” that adapts from the core vehicle to the five-meter diameter fairing.
ULA describes the satellite itself as a “next-generation narrowband tactical satellite communications system” designed to improve communications for U.S. forces on the move. This includes smartphone-like technology that connects military communication all over the globe.
MUOS-5 is expected to launch in 2016. For more information on the rocket and satellite, visit Orbital ATK’s website.