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ATK helps spy satellite stay cool


U.S. officials over the weekend took what’s believed to be the “most secret and expensive” spy satellite in the nation’s history and launched it into deep space aboard the world’s largest rocket.

A Minnesota company was responsible for making sure the project didn’t melt into a puddle during takeoff, when temperatures were expected to exceed 4,000 degrees Fahrenheit.

Alliant Techsystems of Eden Prairie designed and produced a nozzle and thermal protection material for the rocket engine. The nozzle is a first of its kind and made at ATK’s Utah facility.

The company, which also makes ammunition and “smart” bombs, has 17,000 employees and annual sales that exceed $4 billion. U.S. government contracts account for about 80 percent of sales.