SALT LAKE CITY — Aerospace firm ATK announced Wednesday it has signed a new contract valued at up to $81 million over five years with the U.S. Air Force Space Development and Test Directorate at Kirtland Air Force Base in New Mexico.

The contract is a one-year agreement for ongoing aging surveillance for both the Minuteman and Peacekeeper solid rocket motors, with the potential for up to four annual extensions that could run the program through November 2017.

Under the contract, ATK would monitor component dissection, motor plugging, propellant properties testing and hazards analysis, as well as overall program support. In addition, the contract also provides for special studies and efforts such as static test support, motor disposals, and additional component development or testing on an as-required basis.

The motors range in age from 25 years to 50 years, said ATK spokeswoman Hillary Searle.

“The useful life of a motor is dependent on its application and is determined by an aging and surveillance program like this one,” she added.

ATK has supported solid rocket motor propulsion efforts for the program since 1997. 

“We are extremely pleased to have been selected to continue our support to the Air Force’s Space Development and Test Directorate,” said Lamberth Blalock, vice president of Air Force Programs for ATK’s Aerospace Group. “This award expands our role to include Minuteman Stage II efforts for the first time.”

ATK — an aerospace, defense, and commercial products company with operations in 21 states, Puerto Rico and internationally — currently has 3,029 employees in Utah, with 15,900 employees worldwide. Work for this contract will be conducted at both the Promontory and Magna facilities, Searle said.

She noted that other programs at ATK’s facilities in Utah include defense and commercial solid rocket propulsion that support multiple launch vehicles, including the Delta II, Delta IV and Antares.

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The company also produces flares and decoys for the Department of Defense and serves as a prime contractor providing the five-segment solid rocket booster for the NASA Space Launch System that replaced the Space Shuttle for human space flight.

“ATK also is the sole producer of solid rocket motors used by the Department of Defense for strategic applications, including D5 Submarine Launch Ballistic Missile motors, the Orion motors used by the Missile Defense Agency for the Ground Based Interceptor system and the recently completed Minuteman motors used for the Intercontinental Ballistic Missile,” Searle said.


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