Lockheed Martin Corporation and Alliant Techsystems (ATK) have teamed to offer launch services utilizing upgraded and modernized Athena rockets. For small to medium payloads, the flight-proven family of Athena I and II launch vehicles provide reliable launch services for single payloads as well as shared rides for multiple payloads to a wide range of orbits.
The Athena launch vehicle family combines both Lockheed Martin’s and ATK’s significant heritage and expertise to provide reliable launch services at an affordable price.
Athena is available for launches beginning in 2012, with a payload lift capability that supports NASA, the Department of Defense and commercial mission requirements. Lockheed Martin is offering Athena II services with a ride-share launch from Kodiak in late 2013 and is positioned to expand the Athena II program as it looks at the business case for Athena III launches from Alaska. The Athena III would be capable of launching satellites weighing 4,600 kg (10,150 lbs) from the West Coast and 5,900 kg (13, 000 lbs) from the East Coast.
Athena II can lift up to 3,775 lbs. (1,712 kg) to low Earth orbit. Utilizing a 92-inch diameter payload fairing, the vehicle accommodates a wide range of satellites and missions designed to launch government defense and civil related orbital satellites, including a proven capability to launch satellites into lunar orbit. An Athena II ride-share launch from Alaska’s Kodiak Launch Complex (KLC) is being offered for late 2013.
The Athena team selected Kodiak Launch Complex, AK as its dedicated West Coast launch facility as it looks to expand launch capability with Athena III for commercial and government customers. Utilizing the Athena I and II as the upper stages and another ATK solid rocket motor as the first stage, Athena III will be capable of launching satellites weighing 4,600 kg (10,150 lbs.) from Alaska and 5,900 kg (13, 000 lbs.) from the Florida space coast. ATK draws on a long heritage of commercial rocket motors, including the CASTOR 120 and CASTOR 30 for the Athena II, as well as over 1,500 commercial rocket motors that ATK has produced since 1988.