CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla., Feb. 26, 2003 — The scheduled March 14 launch of the Hellas-Sat satellite on an Atlas V vehicle has been postponed, International Launch Services (ILS) announced today.
Lockheed Martin has identified an issue with some welds on the aft bulkhead of the Centaur upper stage currently stacked on the booster. The delay will allow time to replace the Centaur with one already in the companyï¿½s Denver, Colo., final assembly facility.
"We are doing everything we can to ensure mission success for our Hellas-Sat customer and are working diligently to recover the schedule impact to support the Hellas-Sat mission," said John Karas, vice president of Atlas and Advanced Space Transportation at Lockheed Martin Space Systems – Space & Strategic Missiles.
The Hellas-Sat launch, AV-002, was scheduled as the second flight of the next-generation Atlas V vehicle, from Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral. A new date will take into consideration all necessary pre-launch tests, and every effort will be made to meet the customer's requirements.
Built by Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Centaur is the most reliable, efficient and accurate upper stage system in operation for more than 40 years with over 160 space flight missions. Its flight record includes 63 current consecutive successful Atlas/Centaur missions over the past 10 years.