CAPE CANAVERAL Air Station, Fla., July 25, 1996 – A Lockheed Martin Astronautics Atlas II rocket successfully launched the Ultra High Frequency Follow-On (UHF F/O) F7 communications satellite into intermediate transfer orbit this morning from Complex 36, Pad A. It was the fourth successful Atlas launch of 1996 from Cape Canaveral Air Station and the 24th consecutive successful flight for Atlas.
The Atlas II, designated AC-125 for the UHF F/O F7 mission, is one of four variants in the Atlas family presently launching satellites for domestic and international customers. Atlas II is capable of placing satellites in the 6,200 to 6,500-lb. weight class into geosynchronous transfer orbit.
This seventh satellite in the UHF F/O Program incorporates extremely-high frequency (EHF) capability, which began with the fourth spacecraft in the series launched by Atlas in January of 1995. The fourth through the tenth satellites are being launched on Atlas II and IIA, which offer added performance over the Atlas I used to launch the first three satellites. At a total of 10 missions, the UHF F/O Program is Lockheed Martin’s largest single commercial launch services program.
Lockheed Martin has commitments for 28 Atlas launches through the 1990s, 24 commercial and 4 Air Force missions. Three more missions remain in the 1996 manifest.
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 Rockwell International, located in Canoga Park, CA, Atlas MA-5 engines; Pratt & Whitney, located in West Palm Beach, FL, Centaur upper stage RL-10 engines; and Honeywell Space Systems of Clearwater, FL, inertial navigation unit.
Astronautics is one of four operating elements of the corporation’s Space and Strategic Missiles Sector headquartered in Bethesda, MD. Launch services are provided by International Launch Services, San Diego, CA, formed in 1995 to jointly market Atlas and the Russian-built Proton launch vehicles.