XCOR Aerospace announced yesterday that it has issued a contract to ATK for the manufacturing of the wings and control surfaces of XCOR’s Lynx Mark 1 suborbital spaceplane. ATK is best known (in the space industry, at least) for its solid propellant motors, including the Solid Rocket Boosters (SRBs) used to launch the Space Shuttle. A five-segment version of those SRBs will be used initially for the Space Launch System (SLS). ATK had also planned to use those five-segment motors as the first stage of its Liberty launch vehicle, but those plans are in limbo after ATK didn’t win an award in the latest round of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program.
ATK, though, is also known for its work on aerospace composite structures, and XCOR management had no problem working with them for the Lynx wings. “With this effort we are establishing a model of how smaller NewSpace companies may utilize established government primes as our suppliers,” said XCOR COO Andrew Nelson in the statement announcing the contract. “ATK has demonstrated they are nimble, cost effective and can leverage deep experience from prior larger projects.”