CAPE CANAVERAL AIR FORCE STATION, Fla., Aug. 21, 2002 - The first Atlas V launch vehicle scored a triumph for builder Lockheed Martin Corp. (NYSE:LMT) and launch provider International Launch Services (ILS) today, placing its satellite payload into orbit with a flawless flight.
The rocket lifted off from the new Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral at 6:05 p.m. All systems performed as expected, and the HOT BIRDï¿½ 6 broadcast satellite was placed into orbit about 31 minutes later. Satellite owner Eutelsat, of Paris, reported that the spacecraft is doing fine.
"Once again the Atlas team has demonstrated its careful preparation and dedication to Mission Success," said Mark Albrecht, president of ILS, which manages all tasks associated with providing launch services on the Atlas. "This is the sixth of six Atlas variants with first-flight success, and the third time Eutelsat has been our inaugural customer. I'm proud we could once again validate their trust and confidence in Atlas."
The Atlas V, produced by Lockheed Martin Space Systems Co., is the latest generation in a long line of reliable rockets. Today's flight gives the Atlas family a string of 61 consecutive successful launches over nine years using the Atlas II, Atlas III and Atlas V vehicle configurations.
"I am extremely proud of the phenomenal team of people at Lockheed Martin, our suppliers and partners, who have built the best launch system in the world," said G. Thomas Marsh, president and general manager of Lockheed Martin Space Systems - Astronautics Operations. "We had a vision back in 1993 of where we wanted to take the Atlas. With today's successful launch, we celebrate the achievement of that vision and the continuing success story of Atlas."
This is the most powerful version of Atlas launch vehicles to launch, illustrating Lockheed Martin's commitment to being the preeminent launch system provider in the United States. Atlas V is the first to fly of the next-generation launch vehicles designed to meet the needs of the U.S. Air Force's Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) program as well as the global commercial satellite market.
International Launch Services, headquartered in McLean, Va., markets not only the Atlas but also the Russian Proton, offering mutual backup between the two vehicles. ILS is a joint venture of Lockheed Martin and Russian companies Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Center and RSC Energia.
HOT BIRDï¿½ 6 is the most powerful satellite to be launched for Eutelsat. It is an Alcatel Spacebus 3000B3 satellite carrying 28 transponders at Ku-band and 4 at Ka-band, as well as a SKYPLEX payload for on-board multiplexing. It will be used to provide television and radio broadcast services. The HOT BIRDï¿½ satellites are positioned at 13 degrees East longitude and deliver 600 television channels and 475 radio services across Europe, North Africa and the Middle East.
Lockheed Martin Space Systems, headquartered in Denver, Colo., is one of the major operating units of Lockheed Martin Corp. Space Systems designs, develops, tests, manufactures and operates a variety of advanced technology systems for military, civil and commercial customers. Chief products include a full-range of space launch systems, including heavy- lift capability, ground systems, remote sensing and communications satellites for commercial and government customers, advanced space observatories and interplanetary spacecraft, fleet ballistic missiles and missile defense systems.
Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin is a highly diversified global enterprise principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture and integration of advanced-technology systems, products and services. The corporation's core businesses span space and telecommunications, electronics, information and services, aeronautics, energy and systems integration. Lockheed Martin had 2001 sales surpassing $24 billion.
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. The alternative Block DM upper stage is built by Energia, also near Moscow.