Chandler-based company crafted parts for interceptors used in missile defense test

- On Tuesday, all eyes at one company in Chandler were on a test of a missile interceptor system, for which it had a role in creating.

The interceptor was launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, and it was able to take out another missile that was launched from the Marshall Islands, in the Pacific Ocean.

The test on Tuesday was designed to prepare for a missile strike by North Korea. The Totalitarian country's leader, Kim Jong Un, has vowed to deploy a nuclear-armed missile that is capable of reaching the U.S.

For Orbital ATK, the test caught their attention, as the company created the rocket motors that boosted the interceptor in Tuesday's test.

"You've got the first stage that takes it from the ground and burns for about a minute," said Terry Feehan, VP of Safety and Mission Assurance at Orbital ATK, explaining the missile interceptor. "Stage Two will then begin to burn and take it into the lower part of space, and Stage Three will accelerate it and take it towards the intercept point."

Feehan, who is a retired Two-Star General, said an interceptor stands 5.5 stories tall, and while it was assembled in California, it was developed locally.

"The systems that guide it and control the steering of it, all of those are actually built here, and put onto those interstage platforms," said Feehan.

The target that was fired from Marshall Island was also created by Orbital ATK.

"If you drew a line between LA and Hawaii, and drew that same distance again, that's the Marshall Island," said Feehan. "We had to send a crew there on an island. where it was launched for today's test."

In all, about 200 Orbital ATK employees were involved in making the test on Tuesday happen, and Feehan said the test is more vital than ever, for the nation's security.

Orbital ATK is on track to product 44 interceptors, by the end of the year. Another item that was produced by local companies was the projectile inside the simulated mission, which was made by the Raytheon Company in Tucson.

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