CAPE CANAVERAL Air Station, Fla., July 14, 2000 - A Lockheed Martin Atlas IIAS rocket roared into space early this morning from Complex 36 Pad B, successfully placing the Space Systems/Loral-built EchoStar VI satellite into geosynchronous transfer orbit. Liftoff occurred right on time at 1:21 a.m. EDT followed by successful spacecraft separation just under 30 minutes later. It was the sixth straight successful Atlas launch of 2000 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station and the 52nd consecutive successful flight of Atlas.
"International Launch Services is proud of its record of 100 percent mission success for EchoStar Communications Corporation," said Dr. Mark J. Albrecht, ILS President. ''We have now launched four of the six EchoStar satellites using Atlas and Proton.''
The Atlas IIAS, designated AC-161 for the EchoStar VI mission, is one of two Atlas II family configurations presently launching satellites for government and commercial customers worldwide. The Atlas II series, including the II, IIA and IIAS, has achieved 100 percent operational success starting with the inaugural launch of each vehicle. With the successful AC-161 flight, the Atlas IIA has now achieved 20 successes in 20 flights.
EchoStar VI is newest high-powered broadcast satellite to join EchoStar's existing fleet of five satellites. Built by Space Systems/Loral, EchoStar VI will offer additional channels and services for the DISH Networkï¿½, EchoStar's state-of-the-art DBS system with the capacity to offer 500 channels of digital video and CD-quality audio programming. DISH Network currently serves over 4 million customers nationwide.
Atlas and the Centaur upper stage are built by Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company at facilities in Denver, CO; Harlingen, TX; and San Diego, CA. Major suppliers to the Atlas program include Rocketdyne, a division of Boeing, 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; Cordant Technologies, Castor IV solid rocket boosters ; and BAE SYSTEMS, San Diego, CA, avionics units.
Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company provides launch operations at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Complex 36. Mission management is provided by International Launch Services, McLean, VA, formed in 1995 to jointly market Atlas and the Russian-built Proton launch services to the international and domestic satellite industry.