CAPE CANAVERAL Air Station, FL, September 12, 1999 – Lockheed Martin announced this afternoon that it will postpone tomorrow morning's Atlas launch carrying the EchoStar V communications satellite to allow engineers time to analyze an avionics unit that failed factory testing over the weekend. The unit – a Remote Control Unit (RCU) – is part of the Atlas launch vehicle control system.
None of the avionics systems on the launch vehicle that was being readied for tomorrow's launch exhibited problems; however, it is standard procedure to thoroughly check out components that fail during production acceptance testing when they are identical or similar to those components already installed on the launch vehicle.
The launch of EchoStar V on AC-155 will be rescheduled based on Hurricane Floyd and Eastern Range availability. The launch operation forecast for today indicated a strong probability that a HURCON 3 condition would be called tomorrow morning, which would require securing the launch pad to prepare for severe weather effects from the hurricane. This would preclude a second launch attempt even if the avionics unit could be cleared.
EchoStar V was built by Space Systems/Loral of Palo Alto, CA, based on its 1300 design. Once in final orbit at 110 degrees West, EchoStar V will enable EchoStar's DISH Network to expand direct-to-home television broadcasting services to its consumers.
Launch operations are provided by Lockheed Martin Astronautics at its Cape Canaveral Air Station Complex 36 facility. Astronautics is one of the operating elements of the corporation's Space and Strategic Missiles Sector headquartered in Bethesda, MD. Mission management is provided by International Launch Services, San Diego, CA, formed in 1995 to jointly market launch services on Atlas and the Russian-built Proton launch vehicles.