CAPE CANAVERAL Air Station, Fla., Oct. 2, 1997 – A Lockheed Martin Atlas IIAS rocket is undergoing final preparations at Cape Canaveral Air Station (CCAS), FL, to launch a communications satellite for EchoStar Communications Corporation of Englewood, CO. EchoStar III will be launched from Complex 36B on October 5 at the opening of a launch window that extends from 5:01 p.m. to 7:28 p.m. EDT, subject to restrictions associated with potential Shuttle landing opportunities. This is the sixth of nine planned Atlas missions from CCAS this year.
The launch will be broadcast live on GE-1, Transponder 13, C-Band, beginning at 4:15 p.m. EDT.
The launch vehicle used for this mission, designated AC-135, is an Atlas IIAS, the most powerful of the Atlas family presently flying. This will be the eleventh Atlas IIAS configuration to be launched; all ten previous flights have been successful. For this mission, AC-135 will lift the 8,100-lb EchoStar III satellite to a supersynchronous transfer orbit of no less than 19,430 nautical miles. The satellite will use its on-board propulsion system to achieve final geostationary orbit.
EchoStar III is the third satellite built by Lockheed Martin for EchoStar Corporation and the first A2100 to be completed in Lockheed Martin’s new Commercial Satellite Center in Sunnyvale, CA. Once in final orbit at 61.5 degrees West longitude, EchoStar III will join the EchoStar I and II satellites in expanding the service of the company’s DISH Network satellite system, which provides television programming to its customers throughout the U.S.
Atlas and the Centaur upper stage are built by Lockheed Martin Astronautics 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 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.
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 Atlas and the Russian-built Proton commercial launch services to the international and domestic satellite industry.