Press Release

New National Security Mission to Fly on ILS/Lockheed Martin Atlas V

By SpaceRef Editor
December 11, 2003
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International Launch
Services (ILS) has received authorization to begin operations for the
launch of a new payload for the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO)
on a Lockheed Martin Atlas V rocket.

The launch is set for early 2006 from Cape Canaveral Air Force
Station, Fla.

This NRO launch is a new mission added to ILS’ existing contract
for launches under the Air Force’s Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle
(EELV) program. Details about the payload are classified.

“We’re proud to be entrusted with this crucial national security
mission,” said ILS President Mark Albrecht. “The Atlas team has proven
its dedication to reliable service, resulting in a flawless record of
67 launches on various configurations over more than 10 years.”

ILS’ most recent mission for the NRO was the successful launch
Dec. 2 of a national security payload on an Atlas IIAS vehicle from
Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. That was the final Atlas IIAS
mission from the West Coast, and Lockheed Martin is modifying its
facilities at Vandenberg in order to accommodate Atlas V operations in

Lockheed Martin developed the Atlas V vehicle to meet
Air Force EELV requirements and for ILS commercial missions. The Atlas
V rocket has flown three times since its debut in August 2002, each
with a commercial payload and each successfully. The Atlas V vehicle
is designed to lift payloads up to nearly 8,700 kg to geosynchronous
transfer orbit (GTO).

ILS is a joint venture of Lockheed Martin Corp. that markets and
manages government and commercial missions on the Atlas rocket to
customers worldwide.

SpaceRef staff editor.