ATK unveils rocket motor in N. Utah

PROMONTORY, Utah (AP) — Alliant Techsystems Inc. has unveiled a rocket motor that will propel the next generation of manned space-flight vehicles into orbit. The company has spent four years developing the Ares I first-stage motor. The Ares I will provide the initial thrust needed to boost astronauts aboard NASA’s Orion crew capsule into orbit. ATK Space Systems debuted the Ares I in northern Utah on Monday, the 40th anniversary of man’s first steps on the moon. The new booster is similar to those attached to the side of the existing space shuttles’ main fuel tank, but with five segments instead of four. It’s also about 30 feet longer and holds an extra 300,000 pounds of solid propellant fuel. The first flight using Ares I, an unmanned flight, is scheduled for October.

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