MCLEAN, Va.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--March 2, 2005--The U.S. Air Force has authorized International Launch Services (ILS) to proceed with a mission to launch a Global Positioning System satellite in early 2007 on a Lockheed Martin (NYSE:LMT) Atlas V vehicle.
This launch, of a next-generation GPS-IIF series satellite, will take place from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla. The mission was assigned to ILS in the first round of awards under the Air Force's Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) program. ILS, a Lockheed Martin Corp. joint venture, now has 16 EELV assignments. This is the seventh to be given the go-ahead for launch.
The Atlas V vehicle will inject the GPS satellite directly into its operational circular orbit of 20,200 km (10,900 nm) above Earth and inclined 55 degrees to the equator. The GPS constellation consists of 24 operational satellites in six orbital planes to provide worldwide coverage.
"The GPS missions enable us to demonstrate the unique flexibility of the Atlas V vehicle," said ILS president Mark Albrecht. "The GPS program has a requirement for the EELV medium launch vehicle (MLV), which is our Atlas V-401 configuration. This Atlas V vehicle delivers sufficient performance to directly inject the satellite into its operating orbit, eliminating the need for a transfer orbit."
In Atlas V nomenclature, a "401" vehicle has a 4-meter payload fairing, 0 solid rocket boosters and 1 Centaur upper stage engine.
Albrecht added, "The GPS satellites are a national asset for both the Defense Department and ordinary citizens, and we're proud to have a role in maintaining this important system."
Lockheed Martin developed the Atlas V launcher to meet Air Force EELV requirements and for ILS commercial missions. The Atlas V vehicle has flown four times since its debut in 2002 - all successfully and all for commercial customers. The next mission is planned for March, with a satellite for commercial customer Inmarsat. The first government EELV launch of Atlas V is planned for March 2006.
ILS markets and manages government and commercial missions on the Atlas rocket to customers worldwide. The company is headquartered near Washington, D.C.
The Atlas rockets and their Centaur upper stages are built by Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company in Denver, Colo.; Harlingen, Texas; and San Diego, Calif.
For more information, visit www.ilslaunch.com.
International Launch Services (ILS), McLean
Fran Slimmer, 571-633-7462