Automakers hire rocket firm to probe air bag problems

DETROIT (AP) — The auto industry has hired a Virginia rocket science company to find out why air bags can explode with too much force and injure drivers and passengers.

Ten automakers whose vehicles have been recalled because of problems with Takata Corp. air bags said Thursday they have jointly hired Orbital ATK to figure out the problem. The suburban Washington, D.C., company makes rocket propulsion systems, small arms ammunition, warhead fuses and missile controls.

The companies also named David Kelly, a former acting administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, as project manager for the investigation.

Air bags inflators made by Takata of Japan can explode with too much force, sending shrapnel into car and truck cabins. At least six people have been killed and 64 injured due to the problems.

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