ARLINGTON, Va., Dec. 12, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- ATK (NYSE: ATK) announced today that it successfully completed the last major technical milestone in its contract from the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center Defense Weather Systems Directorate. ATK's year-long study of network-centric small satellites as an element of future weather satellite systems culminated on Nov. 14, 2013 in a comprehensive end-to-end, ground-based demonstration of an architecture that could eventually be implemented in a next-generation operational system. The end result would leverage existing commercial satellite infrastructure to reduce operational costs and shorten delays in transmitting data used for military, scientific or disaster recovery exercises.
The demonstration, led by prime contractor ATK and subcontractors Hughes Network Systems, LLC and NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, utilized technological resources from California to Maryland. The demo displayed final data products on a hand-held device and validated the impact of a more nimble configuration of networked systems that can meet the needs of new missions.
"ATK is excited to lead this very capable team in demonstrating the key concepts that need to be mastered to realize future affordable and resilient space system architectures," said Maj. Gen. Jim Armor USAF (Ret.) and vice president, Strategy and Business Development at ATK Space Systems division. "We enthusiastically endorse the vision of the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center in their quest to gain performance and reduce cost through disaggregation. This is truly a hallmark of delivering affordable innovation, which is our goal in all we do at ATK."
The concept of using small, affordable, disaggregated satellites to replace the current generation of complex and costly multi-sensor weather satellites is being embraced by both the Department of Defense and the Government Accountability Office. To establish the utility of such architectures, ATK studied the capability of its A200 small satellite bus used in ORS-1 and TacSat-3 missions for the Department of Defense to accommodate a wide variety of weather sensors as a part of the study.
Another key objective of the study, as shown in the demonstration, characterized the advantages of transferring data from a Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellite to a Geosynchronous Earth Orbit (GEO) communications satellite for direct insertion into a commercial data network and cloud-based information environment, in accordance with the Department of Defense's Information Assurance guidelines. Such an approach will provide for the rapid delivery of data to mobile end users while simultaneously reducing the workload on the Air Force Satellite Control Network.
ATK is an aerospace, defense and commercial products company with operations in 22 states, Puerto Rico and internationally. News and information can be found on the Internet at www.atk.com, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/atk or on Twitter @ATK.
Certain information discussed in this press release constitutes forward-looking statements as defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Although ATK believes that the expectations reflected in such forward-looking statements are based on reasonable assumptions, it can give no assurance that its expectations will be achieved. Forward-looking information is subject to certain risks, trends and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those projected. Among those factors are: changes in governmental spending, budgetary policies and product sourcing strategies; the company's competitive environment; the terms and timing of awards and contracts; and economic conditions. ATK undertakes no obligation to update any forward-looking statements. For further information on factors that could impact ATK, and statements contained herein, please refer to ATK's most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K and any subsequent quarterly reports on Form 10-Q and current reports on Form 8-K filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.