Thiokol Corp. reported net income of $11.7 million or 61 cents per share for the second quarter ending Dec. 31, up 21 percent from the $9.7 million or 51 cents per share reported for the same period last year.

Net sales for the three-month period were $299.5 million, a 4 percent increase over the $288.7 reported last year.U. Edwin Garrison, president of the aerospace company, said net income for the six months ending Dec. 31 increased 25 percent to $23.2 million, or $1.21 per share, when compared to $18.6 million and 97 cents per share for the same period of the prior year.

Sales for the six-month period increased to $592.1 million, up 6 percent from last year's $556.5 million for the same period.

"Higher margins on space and strategic programs and increased interest income on short-term investments contributed to the quarterly earnings gain. We continue to be confident about our business and expect to show positive earnings growth for the second half of the fiscal year," Garrison said.

For example, space-related sales of $131.5 million were down 7 percent for the quarter, while operating income of $13.1 million reflected an 11 percent boost over last year's $11.8 million.

That increase in operating income resulted primarily from higher profit margins on the space shuttle and other programs, Garrison said.