ATK Tests 92" diameter third stage solid rocket

bobbymike

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ATK Ground Tests New CASTOR 30 Upper Stage Solid Rocket Motor
Motor will be used for NASA Commercial and Government Launch Vehicles
Print this page Send to friendPublished on ASDNews: Dec 11, 2009
(Minneapolis, December 10, 2009) -- Alliant Techsystems (NYSE: ATK) successfully tested its newly developed CASTOR(r) 30 upper stage solid rocket motor today at the U.S. Air Force's Arnold Engineering Development Center (AEDC) in Tennessee.

The test was a significant milestone for ATK, which developed the motor using internal research and development funding. The CASTOR 30 fills a key position in the company's "Family of Motors" product line concept. This concept provides a set of fully developed rocket motors to the market place that have been specifically selected to satisfy the maximum number of current and future military and commercial customer missions.

A version of this motor is being used by Orbital Sciences Corporation (NYSE: ORB) in its Taurus(r)( )II medium-class launch vehicle. It is slated to perform commercial cargo re-supply missions to the International Space Station (ISS) for NASA, to be demonstrated under the Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) program for later delivery missions to the ISS under the Commercial Resupply Services contract. A slightly modified version of the CASTOR 30 is also being used as the basis for the third stage of the U.S. Air Force Large Class (92-inch) Stage (LCS) program. Other potential applications have also been identified.

'This was an important test for ATK today," said Scott Lehr, ATK vice president and general manager of Strategic and Commercial Systems. "The CASTOR 30 solid rocket motor offers a number of low-cost, high-performance features and fills a niche in the market that will make it an important part of ATK's future solid rocket motor business. We see this as an important addition to our Family of Motors product portfolio."

The CASTOR 30 is designed to ignite at altitudes in excess of 100,000 feet. In order to accurately test the motor performance the static fire was conducted at AEDC using a vacuum chamber specially designed to simulate upper atmospheric conditions. All channels of data were collected which will allow ATK to validate their predictive models. The motor utilized a prototype version of a newly developed Electromagnetic (EM) Thrust Vector Control (TVC) system, manufactured by Moog Inc, to provide nozzle steering. This system, once qualified, will also have applications across multiple solid rocket motor product lines.
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Aerojet just tested a 92" diameter advanced second stage for "future strategic strike". Is the US testing parts of what will become the USAF's conventional prompt global strike missile? Minuteman III replacement?
 

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Further test of Castor 30 second stage - From Aerospace and Defense News.

(Arnold AFB, Tenn., December 23, 2009) -- A high-visibility test on a second-stage developmental rocket motor set a new record in the Arnold Engineering Development Center's J-6 large-rocket motor-testing facility Dec. 9.

Joe Migliaccio, the Aerospace Testing Alliance engineer who conducted the test, said the team fired an Alliant Techsystems, Inc., or ATK, Castor 30 rocket motor for approximately two and a half minutes, which is longer than any previous rocket-motor test entry since the testing facility became operational in 1994.

He explained that the motor's long burn time is essential to its primary mission.

"The reason this rocket motor will burn more than some is its mission is to put payloads into space without imparting a great shock load," he said. "So, if you have a rocket motor that's designed for an intercontinental ballistic missile application, you're boosting a warhead to get it up and out in a hurry. The burn times are (longer) if you're boosting a satellite payload that needs a softer ride. So, if you get a softer ride, you get a longer burn time and a thrust curve that looks more like a bell instead of a square wave."

Three officials with ATK, a Minneapolis-based weapon and space systems developer, were onsite to view the test of their company's rocket motor first-hand. They said the successful run validated a "critical" component that their customer, Orbital Sciences Corp., will use in their Taurus II medium-class launch vehicle.

"This test was the first static fire of the Castor 30 motor," said Kevin Enright, ATK's program manager for the Castor 30 rocket motor. "We've done a lot of testing (on) sub-scale levels with propellant and with the cases built up with the new thrust vector control system, but this is the first full-scale static test of this rocket motor."

Also viewing the test onsite was Lt. Col. James Colebank, the commander of the 718th Test Squadron, the unit that manages the facility to provide the correct environment to simulate the high altitude conditions for the Castor 30 rocket motor.

"This test is significant to the Air Force because the technology can be used to support some of the Air Force weapons systems in development," he said
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The interesting quote is the last line. I wonder what "Air Force weapons" in development are being supported with this technology demonstrator? I think we are beginning to see pieces of the Air Forces effort to build a conventional prompt global strike ICBM based on a Peacekeeper sized system giving it the range, payload and accuracy that would make sense in this type of weapon
 

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From Insidedefense.com - USAF STARTING SECOND PHASE OF CONVENTIONAL ICBM DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM
The Air Force is quietly entering into the second phase of a flight demonstration program for a “conventional prompt global strike capability” by awarding Lockheed Martin a $16 million contract for “all design elements through the preliminary design review” of the effort, according to Pentagon documents.
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In today's day and age I don't think $16 million buys very much. Whatever system is developed should also be compatible with MMIII silos and able to replace that quickly aging system.
 

sferrin

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bobbymike said:
From Insidedefense.com - USAF STARTING SECOND PHASE OF CONVENTIONAL ICBM DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM
The Air Force is quietly entering into the second phase of a flight demonstration program for a “conventional prompt global strike capability” by awarding Lockheed Martin a $16 million contract for “all design elements through the preliminary design review” of the effort, according to Pentagon documents.
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In today's day and age I don't think $16 million buys very much. Whatever system is developed should also be compatible with MMIII silos and able to replace that quickly aging system.

They were able to fit 91" diameter Peacekeepers in them so 92" shouldn't be a huge problem I wouldn't think.
 

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