Wednesday, May 23, 2012

ATK and NASA Sign Space Act Agreement for Liberty Launch System

ATK and NASA signed an unfunded Space Act Agreement (SAA) June 7, 2012 to work together during the development of ATK’s commercial Liberty™ Launch System, an agreement that also supports the 2010 National Space Policy by furthering international partnerships.

More on this agreement

The Liberty launch vehicle is a concept proprosed to NASA by ATK and Astrium under phase 2 of the NASA Commercial Crew Development (CCDev) program.

Liberty is a combination of hardware from the defunct Ares I project (the 5-segment version of the Space Shuttle Solid Rocket Booster for a first stage) and from the Ariane 5 launcher (the Vulcain cryogenic main engine, which was slated to carry the Hermes spacecraft as a second stage).

It is projected that the first launch will be as early as 2013, with astronauts launching by 2015.

Liberty is advertised as a vehicle to service the International Space Station for crew and cargo, but its capacities and cost could make it also a launcher for government and commercial satellites, including to Geostationary transfer orbit.