LM Athena Launch Vehicles Selected as an AF Launch Services Provider
- Athena to Fill Critical Niche in Affordable Rockets for Government Payloads
The U.S. Air Force announced that Lockheed Martin’s [NYSE:LMT] Athena launch vehicle family has been selected to become part of the Air Force’s Orbital/Suborbital small and medium space lift program (OSP-3).
Under the indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity (IDIQ) contract, Lockheed Martin will compete for task orders from the USAF Rocket Systems Launch Program for space launch services for missions of the Department of Defense and other government agencies.
Batteries in China to 2016
The primary objective of the OSP-3 program is to provide enhanced capability and flexibility for launch of small- and medium-class orbital and sub-orbital launch vehicles and launch services while providing an on-ramp for emerging capability. The OSP-3 program will utilize any combination of commercial and/or Government Furnished Property motors to meet a variety of mission and payload requirements.
“Athena combines the launch systems heritage and expertise of both Lockheed Martin and ATK while making key upgrades to bring an affordable, reliable vehicle to this important space launch market,” said Robert Cleave, president of Lockheed Martin Commercial Launch Services.
The Athena I & II vehicles selected fulfill the Air Force’s requirements for domestic launch services in “Lane 1” of the procurement, with payloads up to 4,000 pounds (1,800 kilograms). Under this contract, the Athena rockets could be launched from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla. and Kodiak Launch Complex, Aklaska.
Lockheed Martin provides mission management, payload integration, and launch operations, while Alliant Techsystems (ATK) provides integrated vehicle propulsion, launch vehicle structures, booster integration and launch site operations.
These second-generation launch vehicles include the two-stage Athena I and three-stage Athena II. The rockets use ATK’s flight-proven CASTOR 120® for Stage I and Stage II. The modernized launch vehicles feature a newly-developed and ground-tested CASTOR® 30 for the upper stage, and Lockheed Martin’s modernized electronic systems. Both solid rocket motors are in production and are used on other launch vehicles.
Source : Lockheed Martin Corporation (NYSE: LMT)