CAPE CANAVERAL Air Station, Fla., Feb. 27 1998 - A Lockheed Martin Astronautics Atlas IIAS rocket successfully launched the INTELSAT 806 communications satellite into geosynchronous transfer orbit this evening from Complex 36, Pad B, at Cape Canaveral Air Station (CCAS), Fla. Liftoff occurred right on time at 7:21 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. It was the second successful launch of 1998 for Atlas and the 37th consecutive successful flight.
The Atlas IIAS, designated AC-151 for the INTELSAT 806 mission, is the most powerful of the Atlas configurations presently launching payloads for commercial, military and government customers. Booster performance is increased through the use of four strap-on solid rocket boosters. The Atlas II series, including the II, IIA and IIAS, has achieved 100 percent operational success since the introduction of each launch vehicle.
Once in final orbit at 319.5 degrees East longitude, the INTELSAT 806 will serve an
extensive video cable community in the Americas, with access to over 2,000 cablehead ends in Latin America. This was the 29th INTELSAT satellite to launch on an Atlas launch vehicle. The first was launched 27 years ago in January 1971. INTELSAT owns and operates the world's most extensive global communications system. With 1997 revenues of of over $960 million, the INTELSAT system provides voice/data and video services in more than 200 countries and territories via satellite.
International Launch Services has commitments for 24 Atlas launches through the 1990s, including 18 commercial and 6 Air Force missions. Together with its commercial Proton backlog, ILS has commitments for 44 launches through the year 2000. Its combined backlog exceeds $3.5 billion. The 1998 Atlas schedule calls for eight launches from Cape Canaveral Air Station and the first Atlas/Centaur launch from Vandenberg AFB, CA, in June.
Atlas and the Centaur upper stage are built by Lockheed Martin Astronautics at facilities in Denver, CO; Harlingen, TX.; and San Diego, CA. Major suppliers to the Atlas program include Rocketdyne, a division of Boeing North American located in Canoga Park, CA, Atlas MA-5A engines; Pratt & Whitney, located in West Palm Beach, FL, Centaur upper stage RL-10 engines; Honeywell Space Systems of Clearwater, FL, inertial navigation unit; Thiokol Corp. of Ogden, UT, Castor IVA solid rocket boosters; and GDE Systems of San Diego, CA, avionics boxes.
Astronautics is one of the operating units of the corporation's Space and Strategic Missiles Sector headquartered in Bethesda, MD. Launch operations are provided by Lockheed Martin Astronautics at Cape Canaveral Air Station, Complex 36. Customer interface and launch vehicle mission management are provided by International Launch Services, headquartered in San Diego, CA. ILS was formed in 1995 to jointly market commercial launch services on Atlas and the Russian-built Proton launch vehicles.