Farnborough, England - Thiokol Propulsion announced that it has received the go-ahead to manufacture 28 solid strap-on boosters (SSBs) for Japan's H-IIA launch vehicle for Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) Aerospace Systems Works of Nagoya, Japan. The SSB is a fully integrated booster assembly incorporating Thiokol's CASTOR IVA-XL solid rocket motor.
The CASTOR IVA-XL motor for the SSB has a six degree canted nozzle with a 15:1 expansion ratio and is eight feet longer than Thiokol's CASTOR IVA motor. The two-ton class H-IIA launch vehicle uses two or four airlit SSBs, depending on mission requirements.
MHI selected Thiokol and the CASTOR IVA-XL rocket motor for the H-IIA strap-on booster in 1997. Engineering development began in September 1997 to adapt Thiokol's demonstrated CASTOR IVA-XL motor to meet SSB requirements. Thiokol's development program has completed preliminary design review and is scheduled to finish the program's critical design review in this month. The completion of this significant milestone will initiate transition to the program's production phase.
Thiokol will begin delivery of the 28 boosters to MHI in 2000. The successful development of the H-IIA vehicle will represent a long term, relatively high volume production program, which could continue well into the next century.