CAPE CANAVERAL Air Station, Fla., Oct. 19, 2000 - A Lockheed Martin Atlas IIA rocket roared from Pad 36A carrying the Defense Satellite Communications System III (DSCS III) satellite for the U.S. Air Force. Liftoff occurred at 8 :40 p.m. EDT, followed by successful spacecraft separation from the launch vehicle just under a half hour later. The launch was conducted by a combined team of Lockheed Martin, the United States Air Force and International Launch Services (ILS).
"Today's launch is another in a longstanding relationship between Atlas and the Air Force," said Dr. Mark J. Albrecht, ILS President. "ILS is proud to once again team with the U.S. Air Force and to provide our valued customer with another successful launch."
The Atlas IIA, designated AC-140 for the DSCS B11 mission, is one of two Atlas II family configurations presently launching satellites for customers worldwide. The Atlas II series, including the II, IIA, and IIAS, has achieved 100% mission success since the introduction of each launch vehicle. The string of consecutive successful Atlas launches now stands at 53, one of the best in the industry.
Tonight's successful launch deploys the eighth in the series of DSCS III satellites on the Atlas, and the eleventh DSCS III satellite overall for the USAF. All seven previous DSCS III satellites were launched successfully on Atlas starting with the first in February of 1992.
The DSCS III B11 spacecraft is the second of four super high-frequency communications satellites to feature Service Life Enhancement Program (SLEP) upgrades. These upgrades will provide improved uninterrupted secure voice and high data rate communications to its Department of Defense (DoD) national security users. Lockheed Martin Missiles & Space will supply two more of these satellites to the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center, Los Angeles Air Force Base, CA.
"This third generation DSCS III SLEP satellite will provide a robust anti-jam, nuclear-hardened capability that supports the DoD's worldwide communication requirements," said Julie Sattler, Lockheed Martin Missiles & Space DSCS program manager. "It will also provide uninterrupted high-data rate communications to support globally distributed fixed and mobile DoD users, the Diplomatic Telecommunications Service and the White House Communications Agency."
Atlas and the Centaur upper stages are built by Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company Astronautics Operations 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 engine; Pratt & Whitney, located in West Palm Beach, FL, Centaur upper stage RL-10 engines; Honeywell Space Systems of Clearwater, FL, inertial navigation unit; and BAE SYSTEMS, San Diego, CA, avionics systems.
Headquartered in McLean, VA, USA, International Launch Services is a joint venture stock company established in 1995 to jointly market the Russian-built Proton and the Lockheed Martin-built Atlas to the worldwide satellite launch market. The company currently offers the broadest range of launcher products in the world along with the highest reliability in the industry. ILS is owned by Lockheed Martin Commercial Launch Services (LMCLS) and the Lockheed Khrunichev Energia International (LKEI) joint venture.