CAPE CANAVERAL Air Station, Fla., Feb. 16, 1997 - A Lockheed Martin Atlas IIAS rocket, designated AC-127, successfully launched the JCSAT-4 communications satellite into geosynchronous transfer orbit tonight from Complex 36B at Cape Canaveral Air Station (CCAS), FL. JCSAT-4 follows the successful launch of JCSAT-3 by Atlas in August of 1995. Tonight's launch was the 28th consecutive success for Atlas and the first of nine Atlas missions from CCAS this year.
The Atlas IIAS, designated AC-127 for the JCSAT-4 mission, is one of four variants in the Atlas family presently launching satellites for domestic and international customers. The Atlas II series, consisting of the II, IIA and IIAS, has compiled a perfect record with 100 percent mission success of each configuration starting with the Atlas II introduction in 1991, the Atlas IIA in 1992 and the Atlas IIAS in 1993. The Atlas family is capable of launching satellites weighing from 2,268 to 3,696 kg (5,000 to 8,150 lbs). The new Atlas IIAR, which will begin launching in 1998, expands that performance capability to 4,037 kg (8,900 lbs).
JCSAT-4 will be operated by Japan Satellite Systems, Inc. (JSAT), a telecommunications company headquartered in Tokyo. Once operational, JCSAT-4 will provide voice, data and television signals to Japan, Asia, Hawaii, Australia and New Zealand. JCSAT-4 is an HS 601 satellite design built by Hughes Space and Communications headquartered in El Segundo, CA. ILS International Launch Services recently announced continuing business between Atlas and JSAT with the launch of JCSAT-6 in mid-1998.
Atlas and the Centaur upper stage are built by Lockheed Martin Astronautics at facilities in Denver, CO, San Diego, CA, and Harlingen, TX. 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; and Honeywell Space Systems of Clearwater, FL, inertial navigation unit.
Astronautics is one of four operating elements of the corporation's Space and Strategic Missiles Sector headquartered in Bethesda, MD. Launch services are provided by Lockheed Martin Astronautics at CCAS Complex 36 and by ILS, San Diego, CA, formed in 1995 to jointly market the Atlas and the Russian-built Proton launch vehicles.