Orbital ATK developing new rocket


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Capitalism in space: Orbital ATK is developing a new rocket, based on the solid rocket technology it provided for the space shuttle, to compete with SpaceX and ULA.

Two versions of the rocket are planned. The medium-lift variant will have a two-segment, solid-fuel first-stage motor and a single-segment, solid second. The heavy lifter will have a four-segment first stage and a single-segment second. Both versions can be outfitted with strap-on boosters for extra lift capacity, Orbital representatives said.

To complete the rocket’s development the company says it needs to win a follow-up contract that the Air Force has been issuing to help ween the U.S. from the use of Russian rocket engines.

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2 comments

  • fred

    > To complete the rocket’s development the company says it needs to win a follow-up contract that the Air Force has been issuing to help ween the U.S. from the use of Russian rocket engines.

    LOL.

    Goin to the trough for some good, ol’ gov’t pork.

    What a joke. It is an existing SRB, paid for with NASA pork and they want AF pork to pay for it again? It’s an SRB … not at all what the engine pork is intended for.

  • Dick Eagleson

    Actually, it isn’t an SRB. That seemed to be the original plan when this NGL project was first broached awhile back. The segments will be the same size as Shuttle/SLS SRB segments, and they’ll still be expendable, but the propellant formulation is different and the cases are filament-wound carbon fiber composites, not metal. The NGL is, emphatically, not going to be a repurposing of Shuttle/SLS bits. I hope that proves to be a good thing. It will certainly be a different thing.

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