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Dulles-based Orbital ATK supports secret satellite launch for national security mission

ULA’s Atlas V rocket successfully launches classified NROL-61 satellite from Florida’s Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. ULA Photo
Dulles-based Orbital ATK supported the successful launch of a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket today carrying a classified NROL-61 satellite from Florida’s Cape Canaveral Air Force Station as part of a U.S. National Reconnaissance Office national security mission.

“Witnessing yet another successful launch of an Atlas V serves as a reminder of how much Orbital ATK values our partnerships with ULA,” Vice President and General Manager of Orbital ATK’s Aerospace Structures Division Steve Earl said in a statement “Our highly engineered composite and control products play an important role in ensuring dependable access to space and affordable innovation for our customers.”

The Loudoun County-based company provided “advanced hardware” from various divisions to both the ULA Atlas V launch vehicle and the NRO payload. Specifically, Orbital ATK said it produced the 10-foot diameter composite heat shield which protects the vehicle during the first state of the launch.

Thursday’s launch marked the 63rd Atlas V launch which used Orbital ATK-built composite structures.

Orbital ATK also said Thursday’s flight made it the 29th consecutive successful flight of the company’s retro motors, which supported separation during the first stage.

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