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ATK, Astrium propose commercial launcher
Posted: Tue, Feb 8, 2011, 7:20 AM ET (1220 GMT)
Liberty rocket concept (ATK) Aerospace companies ATK and EADS Astrium announced Tuesday plans to develop a new launch vehicle based on existing systems that could be used for commercial crewed spacecraft. The Liberty launch vehicle would use a five-segment solid rocket booster that ATK originally developed for the Ares 1 rocket, and an upper stage derived from the core stage of the Ariane 5, built by Astrium. The vehicle, capable of placing 20,000 kilograms into the orbit of the ISS, could be ready to fly on an initial test flight as early as the end of 2013 and enter full operation by 2015. ATK has submitted a proposal to the second round of NASA's Commercial Crew Development (CCDev) program to support development of the vehicle.
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