Alliant Techsystems Inc.
) has been awarded a contract from Lockheed Martin Space Systems -
a unit of aerospace and defense major
Lockheed Martin Corporation
) - to supply UltraFlex solar arrays. The solar arrays currently
being fabricated are scheduled for delivery in 2015. Alliant's
Space Components division is entrusted with the task.
Lockheed Martin Space Systems will utilize the arrays for National
Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) Interior Exploration
using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport (InSight)
Lander mission. Lockheed Martin will construct and control the
spacecraft. The objective of the mission is to position a lander,
having advanced geophysical devices, on Mars in 2016 to explore the
red planet's deep interior, including determining seismology,
temperature and reflexes.
The Alliant-invented UltraFlex solar array is an accordion-fanfold,
flexible-blanket solar array, consisting of inter-connected,
triangular and ultra-lightweight substrates. The state-of-the-art
array's wing can collapse to a smaller volume and footprint on the
spacecraft. During the operation, the substrates unfold and the
array is tensioned to figure a shallow and umbrella-shaped membrane
structure. The array is compatible with all solar-cell
technologies. The round fan-fold design of these solar arrays
provides superior performance. In 2008, the UltraFlex solar arrays
were used successfully for the Mars Phoenix Lander mission.
Alliant continues to expand its product and service portfolio under
its Aerospace Group. In Apr 2014, the company completed successful
testing of its MegaFlex solar array wing. In the future, NASA will
utilize the MegaFlex solar array to power its large-scale Solar
Electric Propulsion systems on robotic and manned exploration
Alliant has strong business ties with Lockheed Martin having
supported many of the latter's space-related missions. In May 2014,
Alliant delivered various components for the United Launch Alliance
(ULA) Delta IV rocket. ULA is jointly owned by
The Boeing Company
) and Lockheed Martin.
Proven track record of product and service standards are expected
to make Alliant a trusted partner for several aerospace missions.
Alliant announced in Apr 2014 that it will form a new entity called
Orbital ATK, Inc., combining its Aerospace and Defense Groups with
Orbital Sciences Corporation
). The aim is to focus more on aerospace operations and expand the
scale of operations.
Alliant currently has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).
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