Lockheed Martin Builds First Atlas V Rocket, Prepares for Shipment to Cape Canaveral
DENVER, CO, 30-APR-01 -- In a rollout ceremony today, Lockheed Martin Space Systems announced that it has completed assembly of the first Atlas V rocket, designated AV-001, and is shipping it to Space Launch Complex 41 (LC 41), the company's Atlas V launch site at Cape Canaveral, Fla. Atlas V is the company's largest, most powerful Atlas space launch vehicle built to date and is scheduled for its first launch in the second quarter of 2002. During a rollout ceremony in the Launch Vehicle Final Assembly Building (FAB) at the company's Astronautics Operations near Denver, Colo., the milestone was celebrated with cheers from a crowd of more than 2000 employees and special guests.
I am extremely proud of the entire team of Lockheed Martin, our suppliers and partners, who have built what I believe is the best launch system in the world, said G. Thomas Marsh, president and general manager of Lockheed Martin Space Systems - Astronautics Operations. We benefit greatly from the tremendous legacy and flight record of the Atlas and Titan programs, unmatched in the aerospace industry. And the best technology in existence in the world today has been built into our Atlas V. I'm looking forward to seeing this one make its successful flight next year.
Development of the Atlas V launch system began in 1998 and a vast majority of the flight systems that fly on the Atlas V already were flight-proven on Lockheed Martin's Atlas III launch last May.
Lockheed Martin developed its new, more powerful Atlas V launch vehicles to meet the needs of the U.S. Air Force's Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) program and the growing needs of International Launch Services (ILS) for its commercial and government satellite customers worldwide. ILS, headquartered in McLean, Va., is a joint venture of Lockheed Martin in the United States and Khrunichev and Energia in Russia. ILS manages all tasks associated with providing launch services on both the Atlas and the Russian-built Proton vehicle families, including technical, management and marketing expertise.
The marketplace recognizes the excellent record and flexibility of the Atlas family. Every Atlas variant during the past 10 years has had a flawless first flight for a paying customer, said ILS President Mark Albrecht, who participated in the rollout ceremony today. With the Atlas V modular design and increased capability, the Atlas team has provided a vehicle that can meet a wide range of customer needs. To the development team, I say thank you.
The Atlas V booster's liquid oxygen and RP-1 high-grade kerosene fuel tanks were built at Lockheed Martin's facilities near Denver, Colo. The AV-001 booster tank was delivered to the Launch Vehicle Final Assembly Building (FAB) Feb. 19, 2001, and just two days later, the flight-certified Atlas V RD-180 engine was attached to the booster.
The Atlas V's Centaur upper stage tank was built at the company's facilities in San Diego, Calif., and was delivered to the Denver facility for final assembly in November 2000. The RL-10A-4-2 engine was installed on the Centaur along with avionics, harnessing and other components in the Denver facility's 100,000-class cleanroom. The Atlas V Centaur tank design is based on the company's successful Centaur cryogenic upper stage, flight-proven through 151 missions over a period of 40 years of launching satellites into space. The identical Centaur tank design will be used on the Atlas IIIB, scheduled to fly later this year, as well as the 400 and 500 series of Atlas V rockets.
The AV-001 Centaur will be shipped from Denver on an Antonov 124 cargo plane to Lockheed Martin's new Atlas Spaceflight Operations Center (ASOC) near Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla. Because the Atlas V booster takes up most of the length of the cargo hold, a second Antonov flight will deliver the Atlas V booster to the ASOC. From there, pathfinder operations will begin as the vehicle is readied for launch from the company's new Atlas V launch facilities at LC 41.
With one of the industry's longest running mission success strings, Atlas/Centaur rockets have flown 54 consecutive successful missions - a string that began in 1993. And since 1990, five new versions of Atlas - each more powerful than the other- have flown successfully in their inaugural flights. Atlas V, AV-001, will be the sixth new configuration flown in just 12 years.
To find out more about Lockheed Martin's Atlas III and Atlas V launch systems, tap into our web site at http://www.ast.lmco.com. The photo gallery includes new images of the Atlas V AV-001 launch vehicle. The web site also features updates, images and videos of Atlas development and production milestones, Lockheed Martin's East and West Coast launch sites, and the latest performance capabilities of Lockheed Martin launch vehicles. You can also find information about Atlas and Proton launch systems at International Launch Services' web site at http://www.ilslaunch.com.
Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company, headquartered in Denver, Colo., is one of the major operating units of Lockheed Martin Corporation. Space Systems designs, develops, tests, manufactures and operates of a variety of advanced technology systems for military, civil and commercial customers. Chief products include a full-range of space launch systems, including heavy-lift capability, ground systems, remote sensing and communications satellites for commercial and government customers, advanced space observatories and interplanetary spacecraft, fleet ballistic missiles and missile defense systems.