CAPE CANAVERAL AIR FORCE STATION, Fla., May 13, 2003 - An Atlas V rocket placed the Hellas-Sat satellite into orbit this evening, marking the 65th consecutive successful flight for Atlas, its builder Lockheed Martin and mission provider International Launch Services (ILS).
This was the second launch in the Atlas V series, Lockheed Martin's powerful current-generation vehicle. It lifted off at 6:10 p.m. EDT (22:10 GMT), placing the Hellas-Sat spacecraft in a supersynchronous transfer orbit 31 minutes later. Satellite controllers have confirmed that the Hellas-Sat spacecraft is functioning properly.
The Atlas V rocket placed the satellite into a nearly perfect transfer orbit: apogee of 85,458 km (target was 85,554 km), perigee of 312.2 km (target was 312 km), and an inclination right on target at 17.06 degrees.
Hellas-Sat is the first telecommunications satellite for Greece and Cyprus. The satellite is an Astrium Eurostar 2000+ model that will provide voice, video, data and broadcast services over Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Southeast Asia.
"We appreciate the confidence Hellas-Sat has placed in ILS and Atlas to deliver this important satellite," said ILS President Mark Albrecht. "We congratulate the Atlas team for its dedication to 100 percent Mission Success, making this the 65th flawless launch in a row."
"Our thanks to ILS and the very reliable Atlas for placing our satellite into orbit," said Christodoulos Protopapas, CEO of Hellas-Sat Consortium Ltd. of Nicosia, Cyprus. George Argyropoulos, Chairman & CEO of Hellas-Sat S.A. of Athens, Greece, said, "We look forward to using this satellite to broadcast next year's Summer Olympic events from Athens."
The Atlas V family is designed to lift payloads up to nearly 8,700 kg to geosynchronous transfer orbit (GTO). It was developed both for ILS commercial missions and to meet the U.S. Air Force requirements for the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV). The Atlas V incorporates state-of-the-art designs, materials and processes, including the throttleable, Russian-built RD-180 engine, the first variable-thrust main engine to power a U.S. expendable launch vehicle.
ILS is a joint venture of Lockheed Martin Corp. in the United States, with Russian companies Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Center and RSC Energia. ILS provides launch services on the Atlas and the Russian Proton vehicles to customers worldwide. The company is based in McLean, Va., near Washington, D.C.
ILS offers the broadest range of launch services in the world along with products with the highest reliability in the industry. ILS' Atlas rockets and their Centaur upper stages are built by Lockheed Martin Space Systems Co. - Astronautics Operations, at facilities in Denver, Colo.; Harlingen, Texas; and San Diego, Calif. The three-stage Proton and the available Breeze M upper stage are produced by Khrunichev at its factory near Moscow.
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