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June 26, 2013

USAF, ATK test new large class stage I rocket motor

The US Air Force has successfully evaluated Alliant Techsystems' newly built Large Class Stage I solid rocket motor at its test facilities in Promontory, Utah, US.

Large Class Stage I motor

The US Air Force (USAF) has successfully evaluated Alliant Techsystems’ (ATK) newly built Large Class Stage I (LC I) solid rocket motor at its test facilities in Promontory, Utah, US.

Indicating collection of all channels of data, the preliminary test results also confirmed that the rocket performed according to predictions.

ATK Aerospace Systems vice president and Strategic and Commercial Systems general manager Scott Lehr said the successful trials highlight the company’s ability to provide the USAF with an updated, large class solid rocket motor fitted with technologies capable of supporting future operations.

The successful trials highlight the company’s ability to provide the USAF with an updated, large class solid rocket motor fitted with technologies capable of supporting future operations.

"Our design also maximises the use of common materials and processes that improve affordability and reduce production lead times," Lehr added.

Manufactured as part of the air force’s Large Class Stage I programme, the 92in diameter rocket leverages emerging technologies from other air force’s developmental programmes, such as the Propulsion Application Program and Integrated High Payoff Rocket Propulsion Technology.

Conducted under the intercontinental ballistic missile demonstration / validation propulsion applications programme funding, the LC I programme is aimed at maturation and demonstration of applicability of available technologies in a large class solid rocket motor and a potential family of motors capability for future propulsion systems.

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The capability will in turn facilitate assembly of an array of current rocket motors to address future mission requirements at a fraction of the cost of manufacturing new propulsion systems for each operation, eventually helping USAF lower the future development costs.

Together with ATK’s Large Class Stage III motor, LC I will also support multiple operations, including conventional strike missile and operationally responsive space missions.

The rocket’s development was managed by the Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center, and its thrust vector control system, designed to have common hardware for future use on other company motors, was manufactured by Moog.


Image: ATK’s new Large Class Stage I solid rocket motor during its testing in Utah, US. Photo: Alliant Techsystems Inc.

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