CAPE CANAVERAL Air Station, Fla., Nov. 22, 1999 - A Lockheed Martin Astronautics Atlas IIA rocket successfully launched the tenth and final Ultra High Frequency Follow-On (UHF F/O) communications satellite into intermediate transfer orbit this evening from Complex 36, Pad B. The on-time liftoff at 11:06 p.m. Eastern Standard Time was the beginning of a perfect mission for Atlas, which delivered the UHF F10 satellite to an intermediate transfer orbit in just under a half-hour.
"This is a great finale to what has been a very successful launch program," said Dr. Mark J. Albrecht, International Launch Services President. "At 10 launches, the UHF program for Hughes is ILS' single largest launch services contract. From start to finish, the program has been defined by close and productive cooperation between Hughes and Lockheed Martin on behalf of the U.S. Navy."
AC-136 was the fourth Atlas launch of 1999 from Cape Canaveral Air Station and the forty-fifth consecutive successful flight for Atlas. The Atlas II series of vehicles, including the II, IIA and IIAS, has achieved 100% mission success since the introduction of each.
UHF F/O F10 incorporates a Global Broadcast Service payload, inaugurated on F8, to greatly enhance the communications capability of the satellite. The satellite will be used to meet the Navy's communications requirements, which range from intelligence dissemination to quality-of-life programming.
Atlas and the Centaur upper stage are built by Lockheed Martin Astronautics at facilities in Denver, CO; Harlingen, TX; and San Diego, CA. Major suppliers to the Atlas program include Rocketdyne, a division of Boeing North American located in Canoga Park, CA, Atlas MA-5A engines; Pratt & Whitney, located in West Palm Beach, FL, Centaur upper stage RL-10 engines; Honeywell Space Systems of Clearwater, FL, inertial navigation unit; and GDE Marconi Systems, San Diego, CA, avionics systems.
Astronautics is one of the operating units of the corporation's space business area headquartered in Bethesda, MD. Launch operations are provided by Lockheed Martin Astronautics at Cape Canaveral Air Station, Complex 36. Customer interface and launch vehicle mission management are provided by International Launch Services, headquartered in San Diego, CA. ILS was formed in 1995 to jointly market commercial launch services on Atlas and the Russian-built Proton.