ARLINGTON, Va., June 28, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- ATK (NYSE: ATK) and Astrium North America have signed a teaming agreement with NanoRacks, LLC, for NanoRacks to market opportunities for both astronaut explorers and the experiments they plan to carry into space on board the Liberty Transportation Service.
"NanoRacks is a world leader in understanding the emerging commercial market for low Earth orbit utilization," said Kent Rominger, ATK's Liberty Program Manager. "Jeff Manber and his NanoRacks team will bring the tremendous capability of the Liberty Transportation Service to this community worldwide. The prospects are very exciting."
The Liberty Transportation Service offers researchers world-wide the opportunity to fly into low Earth orbit with their research—either to the International Space Station, to other on-orbit space craft for human-tended operations or to use a Liberty mission on-orbit as their own unique research platform. The Liberty team will work with NanoRacks to develop Liberty missions that allow use of low Earth orbit by non-NASA individuals, such as astronauts from other countries, as well as the delivery of innovative solutions for NASA commercial crew and cargo missions.
This teaming agreement allows NanoRacks to market to explorers from around the globe a Liberty mission consisting of transportation into low Earth orbit, on-orbit operations and a safe return to Earth for up to seven people and their research and/or equipment.
The Liberty team selected NanoRacks because of its proven performance and unique history of innovatively managing a number of International Space Station payloads and commercial astronaut programs. NanoRacks is already working with Astrium North America to provide quality hardware and services for the U.S. National Laboratory on board the International Space Station.
NanoRacks has developed and deployed two research platforms onboard the International Space Station's U.S. National Laboratory, which can house plug-and-play payloads using CubeSat. NanoRacks has a signed customer pipeline of over 50 payloads including domestic and international educational institutions, research organizations and government organizations.
"The possibilities with Liberty are exponential," said Jeff Manber, CEO of NanoRacks. "For the first time we are offering people across the globe an opportunity to use Liberty to create their own missions of exploration and discovery. This will greatly expand the use of the ISS for research and also create novel missions using Liberty in low Earth orbit."
"We look forward to expanding our work with NanoRacks as it brings Liberty to new customers worldwide for commercial missions to ISS and other LEO missions," said John Schumacher, President of Astrium in North America. "This builds on research and human space flight-related operations we have done in Florida and Texas with the NASA team for over a decade."
Liberty is a complete commercial crew system that includes a human-rated composite spacecraft, advanced abort system, a reliable, affordable and capable commercial launch vehicle to low Earth orbit and ground and mission operations, which were all designed from inception to meet NASA's human-rating requirements. Unmanned test flights are planned for 2014 and 2015, followed by the first human flights in 2015 with a Liberty flight crew flying to the International Space Station.
ATK is the team lead, with Astrium and Lockheed Martin serving as major subcomponent providers. Additional subcontractors for Liberty include Safran, Moog Inc., Honeywell, Astrotech Space Operations (ASTC), Aerojet, Reynolds, Smith and Hills, Dynamic Concepts, Inc, Hamilton Sundstrand, L-3 Cincinnati Electronics and Teledyne Brown.
The Liberty system team is located across 10 states including Alabama, California, Florida, Maryland, Mississippi, New York, Ohio, Texas, Utah and Virginia. The commercial program is expected to sustain thousands of jobs as well as bring approximately 600 new jobs across the country.
More information on the Liberty Transportation Service can be found at www.libertyspace.us
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.
NanoRacks LLC was formed in 2009 to provide quality hardware and services for the U.S. National Laboratory onboard the International Space Station. NanoRacks provides repeatable access to the International Space Station microgravity environment for commercial and educational research projects. NanoRacks brings together entrepreneurs, scientists and engineers who have real-life experience and share a passion for space including humanity's utilization of low-earth orbit. Visit www.nanoracks.com for more information.
Astrium North America was formed in 1973 to support U.S. and European payloads flying on NASA missions, most recently on the Space Shuttle and ISS. It has operations in Florida and Texas. Its parent Astrium, a subsidiary of EADS, is responsible to ESA for the operation of the European component of ISS. Astrium builds ATV which has completed 3 missions to ISS in the last 4 years and Ariane 5 which launches ATV to ISS. More information can be found at www.astrium-na.com.
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: the challenges in developing a new commercial launch vehicle; assumptions regarding the market for the Liberty Transportation Service; 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.