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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Defense contractor Alliant Techsystems says it won a big contract to develop a future motor for the next generation of space shuttles.
Alliant -- also known as ATK -- has made shuttle boosters from the start of the space shuttle program at its Thiokol plant near Brigham City in northern Utah.
The company says it won a $1.8 billion contract from NASA.
It will develop a lift rocket using solid fuel instead of the more volatile liquid fuel.
The development contract doesn't guarantee Thiokol will produce the next generation of first-stage boosters -- but it practically assures it.
The ATK contract runs through 2012, when the next space vehicle will be operating.
The company will deliver five of the new motors and other equipment for a test flight of the future space shuttle.
(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)