CAPE CANAVERAL AIR FORCE STATION, Fla., July 23, 2001 - An Atlas IIA rocket successfully carried the GOES-M weather satellite into space during an early morning launch today.
Liftoff was at 3:23 a.m. EDT from Launch Pad 36A at Cape Canaveral, followed by spacecraft separation into geosynchronous transfer orbit 27 minutes later. The launch was conducted by International Launch Services (ILS), using a vehicle built by Lockheed Martin. The payload was built by Space Systems/Loral for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
This was the 56th consecutive successful Atlas flight, and the fourth successful mission for ILS this year.
"We're proud that Atlas has been playing a role in maintaining our nation's weather forecasting ability, by launching all five in the current series of GOES satellites," said ILS President Mark Albrecht.
ILS is a joint venture of Lockheed Martin Corp. of the United States and Russian companies Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Center and RSC Energia. ILS offers the broadest range of launcher products in the world along with the highest reliability in the industry.
The vehicle for this launch was designated AC-142. The Atlas rockets and their Centaur upper stages are built by Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company-Astronautics Operations at facilities in Denver, Colo.; Harlingen, Texas; and San Diego, Calif.
ILS' three-stage Proton and the available Breeze M upper stage are produced by Khrunichev at its factory near Moscow. The available Block DM fourth stage is built by Energia, also near Moscow.