ATK successfully performed the first orbit insertion of a satellite using its new STAR(tm) 48BV rocket motor with an innovative vectorable nozzle.
The new STAR(tm) 48BV system served as the fourth and final stage of the Orbital Minotaur IV+ rocket, which recently launched the Tactical Satellite-4 (TacSat-4) into low-Earth orbit.
ATK's STAR(tm) 48BV is the latest evolution of the highly reliable STAR(tm) 48 series of upper stages. The STAR(tm) 48BV incorporates a flexseal nozzle and innovative thrust vector electronic control system (TVECS) that provides added maneuverability and mission flexibility to the payload. The TVECS is designed for use where precise flight profiles are required, such as during satellite orbit insertion.
ATK's TVECS system is the latest innovation in controls technology to be successfully demonstrated. ATK designed and qualified the digital field programmable gate array (FPGA)-based TVECS hardware and software architecture to support other applications involving rocket motors, missile and spacecraft attitude control systems, launch vehicle stages, crew capsules and lander systems.
"ATK delivers proven solid propulsion and attitude control systems with unparalleled reliability, adaptability and performance flexibility," said Gary Flinchbaugh, Vice President and General Manager of ATK Propulsion and Controls.
"The TVECS system is the latest innovation in controls technology. We've designed TVECS to be adaptable for a variety of missions and payloads requiring more precise control of thrust from solid propulsion and attitude control systems," he added.
ATK's STAR(tm) motor family offers unmatched performance flexibility with a 100% success rate on more than 2,440 flights. The STAR(tm) motors and TVECS are manufactured at ATK's Elkton, Md. facility.
The next flight of ATK's STAR(tm) 48BV motor will be on the NASA Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) mission, as the fourth stage for Orbital's Minotaur V launch vehicle.