Lockheed Martin announced in April 2015 that they have awarded American aerospace and defense company Orbital ATK a USD$90 million contract to provide the attitude control motor (ACM) for Orion's launch abort system (LAS).
With the new LAS, the capsule gets separated from the launch vehicle in the case of an in-flight emergency, allowing the astronaut crew to safely escape. Orbital ATK Defense Systems group president Mike Kahn said in a statement:
"This critical work supporting Lockheed Martin on the Orion program recognizes our long history of safety, reliability and innovation."
Cary Ralston, Orbital ATK Defense Systems group missile products
division vice president and general manager, is excited about receiving the contract from Lockheed Martin. He said:
"Orion represents the future of manned spaceflight, and will take humans deeper into space than ever before. Working with Lockheed Martin and NASA, Orbital ATK is committed to making spaceflight safer than ever before for our astronauts."
The Orion spacecraft is being designed to carry as many as four astronauts into deep space and then returning them to Earth beginning in 2021. Headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, Lockheed Martin is the largest defense contractor in the world, with divisions in aerospace, defense, security, and advanced technology. The company employs 116,000 workers worldwide.
The company operates in five business segments: Aeronautics, Information Systems & Global Solutions, Missile and Fire Control, Mission Systems and Training, and Space Systems. In 2009, US government contracts accounted for $38.4 billion (85%), foreign government contracts $5.8 billion (13%), and commercial and other contracts for $900 million (2%).
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