Saturday, August 29, 2009

STS-128 Launches on Mission to Deliver Science Equipment to International Space Station

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla., Aug.29 /PRNewswire/ -- Space Shuttle Discovery lifted off today on a 13-day mission to deliver more than seven tons of supplies, science racks and environmental hardware to the International Space Station marking the start of the transition from assembling the ISS to using it for continuous scientific research.
"This mission is a testament to the hard work and dedication of the entire human space flight team," said Mark Nappi, Vice President of Florida Operations for United Space Alliance (USA). "The ISS is making great progress, the Space Shuttle continues to perform, and we're making important decisions about the future of exploration. It's an exciting time to contribute to this effort."
USA, NASA's prime human spaceflight contractor, processes and prepares each Space Shuttle for launch. On average, a Shuttle processing flow requires 750,000 man hours and involves thousands of tasks aimed at preparing the orbiter, the two solid booster rockets and the external fuel tank for launch.
On this mission Discovery will carry the Leonardo Multi-Purpose Logistics Module that serves as a pressurized cargo carrier. Leonardo will carry 15,200 pounds of cargo including two major additions to Station research facilities - the Materials Science Research Rack-1 and the Fluids Integrated Rack, a freezer to store research samples, a new sleeping compartment and the COLBERT treadmill. STS-128 also will deliver a new crew member to the Station and return another after almost 1.5 months aboard the Station.
During STS-128 crewmembers will participate in science investigations geared at gathering data about sustaining life in space environments, docking and rendezvous technology, materials science, and physiological studies. Space Shuttle Discovery also will return to Earth with scientific samples from current Station science studies including experiments geared at nutrition, immune system investigations, and physical and biological sciences.
"The Space Shuttle team is an experienced and trusted group," Nappi said. "It is their commitment that enables the Space Shuttle to be such a versatile and reliable vehicle for human space flight. We're looking forward to watching this mission advance the Space Station and our human presence in orbit."
About United Space Alliance:
United Space Alliance is a world leader in space operations with extensive experience in all aspects of the field. Headquartered in Houston, USA has more than 9,000 employees working in Texas, Florida and Alabama. Currently, USA is applying its broad range of capabilities to NASA's Space Shuttle, International Space Station and Constellation programs as well as to space operations customers in the commercial and international space industry sectors.

Aerojet Engines Support NASA's STS-128 Mission to International Space Station

SACRAMENTO, Calif., Aug. 29 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Aerojet, a GenCorp (NYSE: GY - News) company, announced today that its engines will be critical to the success of the STS-128 mission following this evening's launch to the International Space Station. Aerojet engines are used for on-orbit operations, space station reboost and during landing.
On this 13-day mission, the STS-128 crew will deliver needed supplies to the Station and conduct three space walks. Mission Specialist Nicole Stott will also replace STS-127 Mission Specialist Tim Kopra. This is the Shuttle's 30th trip to the Station and the 128th Space Shuttle flight.
Aerojet's Orbital Maneuvering Engines, 38 primary and six Vernier thrusters on each Orbiter, as well as gas generators supporting the Auxiliary Power Units, have flown on every Shuttle mission since its launch inception in 1981. These technologies are critical to the Shuttle's maneuvering abilities, the external tank separation and control of the entry vehicle and de-orbit efforts. "After nearly three decades in partnership with NASA on the Space Shuttle program, Aerojet is once again proud to provide the technology necessary for mission success," said Aerojet's Executive Director of Strategic Communications, Glenn Mahone. Aerojet engines and thrusters are also planned for use on Orion and Ares - the new human space flight programs under development at NASA.
Aerojet is a world-recognized aerospace and defense leader principally serving the missile and space propulsion, defense and armaments markets. GenCorp is a leading technology-based manufacturer of aerospace and defense products and systems with a real estate segment that includes activities related to the entitlement, sale, and leasing of the company's excess real estate assets. Additional information about Aerojet and GenCorp can be obtained by visiting the companies' Web sites at and

ATK's Solid Rocket Boosters Help Launch Space Shuttle Discovery

*ATK Manufactured the Lightweight Multi-Purpose Experiment Support Structure Carrier (LMC) in Discovery's Payload Bay
MINNEAPOLIS, Aug. 29 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Alliant Techsystems' (NYSE: ATK - News) Reusable Solid Rocket Motors (RSRM) ignited at 11:59 p.m. EDT, Aug. 28 launching the Space Shuttle Discovery and its crew on their 13-day mission to the International Space Station (ISS). More than 100 RSRM flight sets have been launched to date, marking a two-decade track record of flawless performance.
"The launch of Space Shuttle Discovery and the upcoming fall launch of the Ares I-X, highlight the capabilities and progress ATK and NASA have made in developing the most reliable and affordable family of solid rocket motors ever produced," said Blake Larson, ATK Space Systems President. "For the past 20 years, the reliability of these motors has been unmatched. They will continue to be instrumental to the success of the remaining shuttle flights as well as future human spaceflight programs."
The 149-foot-tall solid rocket boosters each produced more than 15 million horsepower, safely launching the shuttle to approximately 28 miles in altitude in just over two minutes. After the flight, the RSRMs were jettisoned from the orbiter and external tank by ATK's 16 Booster Separation Motors (BSMs). Each booster has eight BSMs: four on the forward skirt and four on the aft skirt. The separation motors propelled the RSRMs to a safe distance from the shuttle orbiter, enabling the spent boosters to parachute down through the Earth's atmosphere where they splashed down into the ocean and were recovered for reuse. The solid rocket motors were produced at ATK's facility in Promontory, Utah.
ATK, under a contract with the Goddard Spaceflight Center in Maryland, also provided the sustaining engineering for the Lightweight Multi-Purpose Experiment Support Structure Carrier (LMC) flying in Discovery's payload bay. The 1,100 pound LMC was manufactured at ATK's facility in Beltsville, Md., and functions as a non-deployable carrier providing launch and landing transportation. For STS-128, the 16-foot by 3-foot carrier transported the Ammonia Tank Assembly (ATA), a critical Orbital Replacement Unit, and will return from the station with a spent ATA as well as the European Technology Exposure Facility.
Discovery is also carrying the Leonardo Multi-Purpose Logistics Module, which contains life support racks and science racks, on this 30th mission to the ISS. The astronauts will perform two spacewalks to remove and replace a materials processing experiment outside the European Space Agency's Columbus module.
ATK and NASA have constantly improved their techniques and processes to increase the safety and mission reliability of the RSRMs. These motors have undergone countless subscale material characterization tests that tie together complex analyses with hard data. They have also undergone 27 full-scale ground tests, including a successful five-segment static test performed in October 2003.
"Over the past few decades, ATK and NASA have applied a rigorous testing and upgrades program to ensure the safety and reliability of these motors," said Mike Kahn, ATK Space Systems executive vice president. "These investments directly contribute to the safety and cost-effectiveness of the motors as we move into the Ares I-X and Ares I flights."
The remaining shuttle flights will be supported by ATK's rocket motors while similar versions of the RSRM and BSM motors are being tested and developed for use on NASA's newest crew launch vehicle, Ares I. The Ares vehicle will replace the shuttle, continue to support missions to the ISS and U.S. space exploration for years to come. ATK as the prime contractor, is on schedule and under budget for this historic event. The first prototype of Ares I, the Ares I-X, is scheduled to roll to the launch pad in October, in preparation for its inaugural test flight later that month.
ATK is a premier aerospace and defense company with more than 18,000 employees in 22 states, Puerto Rico and internationally, and revenues of approximately $4.8 billion. News and information can be found on the Internet at
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: assumptions related to the challenges of developing next-generation space launch vehicles; 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.

AIG paused auction of aircraft leasing firm - source

NEW YORK, Aug 29 (Reuters) - Insurance giant American International Group (AIG.N) has paused the auction of its aircraft leasing firm, International Lease Finance Corp. (ILFC), as its new CEO reviews the divestiture process, a source familiar with the situation said on Friday.
The new CEO, Robert Benmosche, is responsible for leading AIG in repaying more than $80 billion in U.S. bailout loans while keeping the insurance company stable. Part of that repayment is to come from cash raised from asset sales.
However, the sale of ILFC, which is run by Steven Udvar-Hazy and one of the biggest customers of Boeing Co (BA.N) and Airbus (EAD.PA), has proved to be a challenge due to its mountain of debt and funding needs.
Benmosche told Reuters this week that the fate of the airplane leasing company was under review. "I am looking at ways we can structure this so we can get more value for what that business is today. Remember that we own more than 1,000 commercial aircraft," he said.
"We have to look at ways of financing the debt on those planes as we continue to take very good, healthy lease income," he told Reuters.
AIG declined to comment. The source declined to be identified because the talks are private.