CAPE CANAVERAL Air Station, Fla., Jan. 25 1996 – A Lockheed Martin Atlas rocket is undergoing final preparations at Cape Canaveral Air Station, FL, to launch its first mission of 1996. The Palapa C1 communication satellite will be launched from Complex 36B for PT Satelit Palapa Indonesia (Satelindo) on January 31 at the opening of a 92-minute launch window that extends from 7:50 to 9:22 p.m. EST.
The Atlas IIAS used for this mission, designated AC-126, consists of the Atlas booster and the Centaur upper stage. The booster stage, augmented by four strap-on solid rocket boosters, will deliver the Centaur and spacecraft to an altitude of approximately 100 nautical miles. The Centaur will use two engine burns separated by a 15-minute coast phase to place the Palapa C1 into an supersychronous elliptical transfer orbit with an apogee of at least 42,960 nautical miles. The spacecraft will then use its on-board propulsion system to achieve the final geostationary orbit. Satelindo, a private Indonesian telecommunications company headquartered in Jakarta, provides services to individuals and businesses throughout the Asia Pacific region through its fleet of on-orbit satellites. Palapa C1 is a version of the HS 601, built by Hughes Space and Communications Company in El Segundo, CA. Once in final orbit, Palapa C1 will be positioned at 113 degrees East to provide C-band and Ku-band transmissions to an area centered on the Pacific Rim extending from Iran to Vladivostok and south to Sydney and New Zealand.
Lockheed Martin has commitments for 20 Atlas launches through the 1990s, 16 commercial and 4 Air Force missions. This launch is the first launch of 1996, following the record-breaking 1995 schedule, which tallied 11 consecutive successful flights for Atlas from Cape Canaveral.
Atlas and the Centaur upper stage are built by Lockheed Martin Astronautics at facilities in Denver, CO and San Diego, CA. Astronautics is one of four operating elements of the corporation’s Space and Strategic Missiles Sector headquartered in Bethesda, MD. Astronautics designs, develops, tests and manufactures a variety of advanced technology systems for space and defense. Major suppliers to the Atlas program include Rocketdyne, a division of Rockwell International, 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; and Thiokol Corp. of Ogden, UT, Castor IVA solid rocket boosters (on Atlas IIAS configurations).
International Launch Services (ILS) is a company established in 1995 as a result of the merger of Lockheed and Martin Marietta. ILS is owned jointly by Lockheed Martin’s Commercial Launch Services and the LKEI joint venture with Khrunichev Enterprise and RSC Energia in Russia. ILS markets the Atlas and Proton launch vehicles, offering a complete launch services package comprising the launch vehicle, launch operations, integration of the spacecraft, dedicated mission management and validation of spacecraft separation and orbit.