Press Release

Lockheed Martin Gives Final Vehicle in Atlas II Family Grand Send-off form Production Facilities in Denver

By SpaceRef Editor
May 15, 2004
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Atlas IIAS Being Shipped to Cape Canaveral For Launch June 30

Lockheed Martin marked a significant milestone in its successful Atlas program today.  More than 1500 employees, guests and customers celebrated at an event held at the company’s production facility near Denver, Colo., where Atlas II, Atlas III and Atlas V launch vehicles are assembled.  Today’s event marked the roll out of the final Atlas II (an Atlas IIAS configuration) that will be shipped May 16 to Cape Canaveral, Fla., for launch on June 30.  The next-to-last Atlas IIAS is already at Cape Canaveral, being prepared for launch May 19.

Lockheed Martin’s Atlas II series, a workhorse of the American launch vehicle fleet for 13 years, has performed 61 consecutive missions with 100 percent mission success and has evolved into the larger, more powerful Atlas III and Atlas V series.  To date, all five Atlas III and all three Atlas V missions have flown successfully.  Atlas V missions for both commercial and government customers are already scheduled through 2008.

"Today, we celebrate the tremendous success of the Atlas program and the bright future that the Atlas II helped build, not just for Lockheed Martin, but for our customers and for our nation’s space launch capabilities," said James Sponnick, vice president of Atlas Programs at Lockheed Martin Space Systems.  "The Atlas II is an incredible success story that is shared by everyone at Lockheed Martin, our teammates and suppliers, and our customers.  Our work with the Atlas II is far from over, however.  The Atlas team is currently focused on ensuring mission success for an Atlas IIAS launch May 19, then our focus will turn to the launch on June 30."

Using a proven evolutionary approach to developing each new launch vehicle design, Lockheed Martin has built its successful space launch programs by drawing upon proven performance and technology derived from previous versions of its fleet of launch vehicles, including the venerable Atlas II.  Atlas was originally designed as America’s first intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) system in the mid-1950s, and since the first Atlas launch June 11, 1957, there have been a total of 582 Atlas missions to date, with a heritage of space launch capability spanning 47 years in support of spacecraft as well human missions, such as John Glenn’s historic Friendship 7 flight aboard the Atlas in 1962. 

Atlas launch vehicles are built by Lockheed Martin at operations in Denver, Colo.; San Diego, Calif.; and Harlingen, Texas; and launched from east and west coast launch sites at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., and Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.

Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company, headquartered near Denver, Colo., is one of the major operating units of Lockheed Martin Corporation.  Space Systems Company designs, develops, tests and manufactures a variety of advanced technology systems for space and defense. Chief products include space launch systems, defense systems, interplanetary and science spacecraft, spacecraft for commercial and government customers, fleet ballistic missiles and missile defense systems.

Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin employs about 130,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture and integration of advanced technology systems, products and services. The corporation reported 2003 sales of $31.8 billion.

Joan Underwood, 303-971-7398, email,

SpaceRef staff editor.