Press Release

ILS and Atlas Successfully Launch Payload for NRO

By SpaceRef Editor
August 31, 2004
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Atlas II Series Legacy is 100% Success

An Atlas IIAS rocket lifted off tonight, successfully carrying a
national security payload into orbit.

The mission, called AC-167, was provided for the National
Reconnaissance Office (NRO) by International Launch Services (ILS),
using a Lockheed Martin-built Atlas vehicle (NYSE: LMT). Liftoff was
at 7:17 p.m. Tuesday EDT (23:17 GMT) from Cape Canaveral’s Pad 36A,
with payload separation into transfer orbit 73 minutes later.

Tonight’s flight was the eighth mission of the year for ILS, as
well as the fifth Atlas launch. It also was the 73rd consecutive
successful flight for the Atlas family in any launch configuration.
This also marks the 30th and final flight for an Atlas IIAS model and
the 63rd flight and final flight of any Atlas II version. In addition,
this was the final flight after 47 years of the Rocketdyne MA-5A
engine, which powered the Atlas II booster.

“The Atlas family has launched government payloads for more than
40 years,” said ILS President Mark Albrecht. “We’re always proud to
have a role in assisting in the security of our nation.”

Albrecht also pointed out the perfect record of not only the Atlas
IIAS vehicles, but of the entire Atlas II line, which began flying in
December 1991. “This is an awesome accomplishment, being the only U.S.
expendable launch vehicle series to have had 100 percent success
throughout its entire lifespan,” he said. “The Atlas team is an
incredible group of people who make Mission Success for our customers
a way of life.”

This is the second ILS launch this month, following the Aug. 5
successful flight of a Proton Breeze M vehicle, with the Amazonas
satellite for Hispasat of Spain and Hispamar of Brazil.

ILS is a joint venture of Atlas builder Lockheed Martin and the
Proton’s builder, Khrunichev State Research and Production Space
Center of Russia. ILS is headquartered in McLean, Va., a suburb of
Washington, D.C.

ILS has established itself as the indisputable launch services
leader by offering the industry’s two best launch systems: Atlas and
Proton. With a remarkable launch rate of 66 missions since 2000, the
Atlas and Proton launch vehicles have consistently demonstrated the
reliability and flexibility that have made them the vehicles of
choice. Since the beginning of 2003, ILS has signed more new
commercial contracts than all its competitors combined. For more
information and highlights of the mission, visit




Fran Slimmer, 571-633-7462 / Mobile: 646-229-4801


Cape Canaveral, 321-476-5283

SpaceRef staff editor.