ATK Obtains $50M Contract from NASA - Analyst Blog

By Zacks | October 10, 2012 AAA

Alliant Techsystems Inc. (ATK) has received a contract, worth $50 million, from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration ("NASA") to complete its engineering development and risk reduction examinations as a part of the Advanced Concept Booster Development for the Space Launch System ("SLS").

Per the contract, Alliant will help NASA to manage important technological challenges during manufacturing of advanced booster requirements for its SLS program. The company will use cost-saving materials and procedures to develop a lithium-ion battery-powered electric thrust vector control system, lightweight composite rocket motor case, high-performance propellant and an advanced nozzle. These advancements will conclude with a combined booster static test firing of these utilized technologies.

The U.S. SLS will offer a completely new facility for human exploration beyond earth orbit. In addition, it will support the commercial as well as international transportation service partners to the International Space Station. This system is designed to be safe, flexible and affordable for crew or cargo missions to continue the U.S.'s journey toward space discovery.

Driven by the installation of this modern technology including advanced booster design, NASA will help in reducing the cost of operations while minimizing risks under its SLS system program. In addition, this new initiative will provide higher reliability and greater performance than current NASA requirements, and will subsequently help to boost the capability of NASA's heavy launch system.

Alliant and NASA jointly took few initiatives to minimize costs related to the SLS system. The company has already made significant progress toward developing the first ground test motor and advancements of cost-saving processes for manufacturing solid rocket booster for SLS system. The company primarily uses Value Stream Mapping ("VSM") process, which helps to recognize incompetent processes and requirements of the system. Utilizing this process, the company spotted more than 400 changes and improvements, which have already received NASA approvals.

Arlington, Virginia-based Alliant Techsystems Inc. provides aerospace and defense products to the United States government agencies. The company also supplies ammunition and related accessories to law enforcement agencies and commercial customers. Alliant Techsystems Inc. currently has a short-term Zacks #2 Rank (Buy rating) and competes with Rockwell Collins Inc. (COL) and Elbit Systems Ltd. (ESLT).

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