CAPE CANAVERAL Air Station, Fla., Oct. 9, 1998 - A Lockheed Martin Astronautics Atlas IIA rocket successfully launched the HOT BIRD 5 television broadcast satellite into geosynchronous transfer orbit this evening from Complex 36, Pad B. Liftoff occurred at 6:50 p.m. EDT. It was the fifth successful Atlas launch of 1998 from Cape Canaveral Air Station and the 40th consecutive successful flight.
The Atlas IIA, designated AC-134 for the HOT BIRD 5 mission, is one of two Atlas II family configurations presently launching satellites for commercial and government customers worldwide. The Atlas II series, including the II, IIA and IIAS, has achieved 100 percent operational success since the introduction of each launch vehicle. The newest Atlas vehicle, Atlas IIIA, is proceeding towards initial launch capability in the first quarter of 1999.
HOT BIRD 5 will be operated by EUTELSAT, the Paris-based consortium of 47 member nations and signatories, and the largest European satellite operator. The satellite was built by Matra Marconi Space in Toulouse, France. Once in final orbit at 13 degrees East, HOT BIRD 5 will provide broadcasting services for TV, radio and multimedia services to Europe, Africa and the Middle East.
Lockheed Martin presently has commitments for 23 Atlas launches into the year 2002. One more mission remains in the 1998 manifest, and ten launches are forecast for next year.
Atlas and the Centaur upper stage are built by Lockheed Martin Astronautics at facilities in Denver, Colo.; Harlingen, Texas; and San Diego, Calif.. Major suppliers to the Atlas program include Rocketdyne, a division of Boeing North American, located in Canoga Park, CA, Atlas MA-5A engine; 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 Systems, San Diego, CA, avionics units. Astronautics is one of the operating elements of the corporation's Space and Strategic Missiles Sector headquartered in Bethesda, MD. Launch services are provided by International Launch Services, San Diego, CA, formed in 1995 to jointly market launch services on Atlas and the Russian-built Proton launch vehicles.