“A $5 billion “merger of equals” will turn Orbital Sciences Corp. and ATK into a single space services company called Orbital ATK, while spinning off ATK’s firearms-heavy sporting equipment business.”
This is a big step in the horizontal launch field. Orbital Sciences pioneered the first horizontal launch to orbit with their Pegasus vehicle. Now they are partnered with Stratolaunch for a larger version of the system. ATK delivers the large solid rocket booster engines for that project. This assures survival of technology ATK contributed to the shuttle program if the SLS fades away as many expect. All of these ventures contribute to building the market for our space future.
As Russian collaboration fades we have a mandate to step into the lead of space enterprise. New space ventures are building on a rare growth market in a slow economy. Horizontal launch is positioned to provide economy and flexibility on ascent, and should lead to winged reentry vehicles for reusability as well.