Orbital Sciences and ATK to Merge

The company which likes to pride itself on being the original Newspace company, (and often refuses to refer to SpaceX by name) Orbital Sciences, announced today that it is engaging in a  “merger of equals” with Alliant Techsystems,  or ATK, the defense, munitions and space company which is perhaps best known as the major contractor for the Space Shuttle’s Solid Rocket Boosters.  The new company will be called Orbital ATK.

It is probably safe to say that no-one  will call it a “newspace” company any more.

According to the terms announced, Orbital ATK will be comprise a roughly $5 billion dollar enterprise with 13,000 employees, with Orbital stockholders receiving 46.2% of the shares and ATK 53.8%. The arrangements are expected to be completed by 2016. The increasingly profitable sporting goods componet of ATK will be spun off and retained by stockholders.

As a result of the merger, COTS and CRS competitor Orbital Sciences will now be fully invested in NASA’s Space Launch System through ATK’s role as solid rocket booster contractor, even as it may  look to ATK for first stage components for the Antares booster in a bid to escape the limited supply of Russian first stage engines and an increasingly problematic, though technically sound first stage which is built in eastern Ukraine.

More to come..

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