CAPE CANAVERAL AIR FORCE STATION, Fla., Sept. 18, 2002 - A Lockheed Martin-built Atlas IIAS rocket successfully carried a Spanish communications satellite to orbit tonight, in the seventh mission of the year for International Launch Services (ILS).
The satellite is Hispasat 1D. It will provide communications, broadcast and multimedia services in Europe, the Americas, North Africa and the Middle East for Madrid-based Hispasat S.A.
The Atlas IIAS lifted off at 6:04 p.m. EDT (22:04 GMT), and released the satellite into orbit 29 minutes later. The launch was conducted by a combined team of ILS, Lockheed Martin (NYSE:LMT), Hispasat and satellite builder Alcatel Space.
"We welcome Hispasat back to the Cape for a second flawless launch on Atlas," said ILS President Mark J. Albrecht. Hispasat 1C was launched on another Atlas IIAS vehicle on Feb. 3, 2000. "With our impeccable service record and commitment to serving customer needs, ILS is the launch partner of choice for the major satellite operators and manufacturers worldwide," Albrecht said.
Tonight's flight took place four weeks after two successful, back-to-back ILS missions. The first was the inaugural flight of the Atlas V rocket on Aug. 21 from Cape Canaveral, carrying the HOT BIRDï¿½ 6 satellite for Eutelsat of Paris. Less than seven hours later, on Aug. 22, a Russian Proton K rocket lifted off from Baikonur, Kazakhstan, with the EchoStar VIII satellite for EchoStar of Littleton, Colo.
"This is truly a global industry," Albrecht said. "To succeed, a company must have strong international industrial alliances. The team responsible for tonight's Atlas launch - ILS, Lockheed Martin, Hispasat and Alcatel Space - is one example of that." He noted that over the last five years, Lockheed Martin has endeavored to strengthen its industrial relationships in Spain. For example, EADS CASA Espacio of Madrid is a major subcontractor on the Atlas V.
With tonight's launch, designated AC-159, Atlas launch vehicles have achieved 100 percent mission success with 62 consecutive flights and three configurations. This was ILS' fourth Atlas flight and seventh mission overall - including three Proton launches - in 2002.
The Hispasat 1D satellite will expand Hispasat's capacity for communication services on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean, a key element of the Hispasat system. The 1D satellite weighs more than 3 metric tons, and carries 28 transponders at Ku-band. It will be collocated with Hispasat 1A, 1B and 1C at 30 degrees West longitude. Hispasat 1D uses the Spacebus 3000B2 platform built by Alcatel Space in Cannes, France.
International Launch Services, headquartered in McLean, Va., markets not only the Atlas but also the Russian Proton, offering mutual backup between the two vehicles. ILS is a joint venture of Lockheed Martin and Russian companies Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Center and RSC Energia.
ILS offers the broadest range of launch services in the world along with products with the highest reliability in the industry. ILS' Atlas rockets and their Centaur upper stages are built by Lockheed Martin Space Systems Co. -- Astronautics Operations at facilities in Denver, Colo.; Harlingen, Texas; and San Diego, Calif. The three-stage Proton and the available Breeze M upper stage are produced by Khrunichev at its factory near Moscow. The alternative Block DM upper stage is built by Energia, also near Moscow.