Orbital ATK, a provider of aerospace and defense technologies, and Stratolaunch Systems have entered into a multi-year production-based partnership that will offer significant cost advantages to air-launch customers.

As per this partnership, Orbital ATK will provide multiple Pegasus XL air-launch vehicles, initially for use with the Stratolaunch aircraft to offer customers the flexibility to launch small satellites weighing up to 1,000lb into low Earth orbit.

Pegasus has conducted 42 space launch missions and has successfully placed over 80 satellites into orbit for scientific, commercial, defense, and international customers.

"We are energised by this evolved partnership with Orbital ATK."

Stratolaunch Systems CEO and Vulcan Aerospace executive director Jean Floyd said: “We are energised by this evolved partnership with Orbital ATK.

“Orbital ATK is the world’s most experienced air-launch service provider, and we are proud to leverage that expertise and progressive approach in pursuit of our shared goal of convenient and affordable commercial access to low Earth orbit.”

Orbital ATK’s Flight Systems Group president Scott Lehr said: “Orbital ATK is excited by this collaboration and sees it as a positive first step in a long-term partnership.

“The combination of our extensive air-launch experience and the Stratolaunch aircraft has the potential to provide innovative and cost-effective options for commercial launch customers.”

Based in Dulles, Virginia, Orbital ATK employs around 12,000 people in 18 states across the US and in several international locations

Image: Conceptual rendering of the Stratolaunch Aircraft and the Orbital ATK Pegasus XL air-launch vehicles. Coutesy of Business Wire.