Signaling a growing interest in space exploration, Northrup Grumman is buying Orbital ATK, which has a Goleta division, in a $9.2 billion deal, corporate officials said Sept. 18.
The deal includes Northrup Grumman’s assumption of $1.4 billion in net debt. It is expected to close in the first quarter of 2018.
ATK’s Space Components Division in Goleta worked on the Cygnus spacecraft and is providing upgraded solar arrays and fuel tanks. The next launch of Cygnus in November will be the first flight of the Division’s UltraFlex solar arrays in earth orbit, company officials said.
UltraFlex solar arrays are lighter and more compact than other rigid arrays because of their circular shape and fan-like deployment. The arrays allow ATK to deliver more materials and supplies to the International Space Station.
The Cygnus UltraFlex arrays made in Goleta are 3.7 meters in diameter and provide 3,500 watts of power to the spacecraft. They are made of a flexible membrane supporting solar cells between radial ribs.
ATK’s earlier solar arrays were used to power the Mars rover Curiosity.
Industry analysts said the $9.2 billion deal signals a growing interest in space exploration.
Many of the engineers at ATK were once Dos Pueblos
High School students. The company fosters the school’s award-winning engineering academy, which is run by a former ATK engineer. ATK’s investment in the community is also a way that it can keep in touch with the area’s finest engineering minds, company officials said.
ATK also has strong relationships with the engineering
departments at UC Santa Barbara.
The company employees more than 170 workers and plans to construct a third building in Goleta. Orbital ATk is based in Dulles, Va.