Lockheed Martin Names New Rocket Atlas V
DENVER, CO, February 3rd, 1999 -- Lockheed Martin Astronautics announced today that launch vehicle configurations based on use of the new Common Core Booster(TM) stage the company is developing will be called the Atlas V. Astronautics is developing the new, more efficient, more powerful, lower cost rockets with a mix of its own investment and U.S. Air Force funds. The rockets will be used to competitively support the commercial and U.S. government market for space launch services. In addition to serving the growing need for higher capability space launch services to geostationary transfer orbit, these products are anticipated to support near-term deployment of a number of large-scale commercial satellite constellations. Under the Air Force Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) program, Lockheed Martin was awarded contracts in October 1998 to complete development of a new family of rockets that will be ready for service in late 2001 and to provide streamlined launch capabilities. The Air Force envisions that these new rockets will eventually replace current families of Delta, Atlas and Titan space launch vehicles for use in launching a wide range of government and commercial payloads. The Atlas V will be launched from both Cape Canaveral Air Station, Fla., and Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. "The capabilities of the Atlas V configurations span the full range of projected requirements of the satellite industry, whose spacecraft continue to grow in mass and volume," said Dr. Raymond S. Colladay, president of Lockheed Martin Astronautics. "Melding together the best practices and proven capabilities of our Atlas and Titan vehicle programs, this new Atlas V family will greatly enhance our ability to serve our international and domestic customers." Atlas V will encompass a group of launch vehicle configurations that represent significant improvements to the company's Atlas III rockets and feature common elements, including:
* The 3.8 meter (12.5-foot) diameter, 27 meter (89 foot) tall, structurally stable Common Core Booster(TM) powered by an RD-180 engine and equipped with fixtures for solid rocket boosters that could be attached to increase capability; * The common Centaur upper stage with either one or two RL10 engines; * Standard, flight-proven Atlas payload fairings that enclose and protect the spacecraft during launch, existing or similar payload adapters and hardware; * A new, larger payload fairing, measuring 5.4 meters (17 ft. 9 in.) in diameter, to accommodate the large payloads envisioned with the Atlas V Heavy configuration and larger intermediate lift vehicle variants.
The baseline Atlas V intermediate configuration uses the Common CoreBooster(TM), the Centaur upper stage developed for the Atlas IIIB, and the standard payload fairings and interfaces currently in use with the Atlas II and Atlas III. The baseline intermediate class Atlas V will boost payloads weighing more than 5,000 kg (11,020 lbs) to geosynchronous transfer orbit. The Atlas V Heavy configuration uses three Common Core Boosters_ coupled together. The common Centaur upper stage will be mounted atop the center booster and will be encapsulated in the 5.4-meter (17-ft. 9 in.) Contraves composite payload fairing. The Atlas V Heavy vehicle will be capable of carrying payloads weighing 6,500 kg (14,310 lbs) directly to geosynchronous orbit, approximately 35,786 kilometers (22,240 miles) above Earth. This vehicle will be capable of delivering more than 13,000 kg (28,660 lbs) to geosynchronous transfer orbit. "These Atlas products apply state-of-the art designs, materials and processes which have resulted in new product lines with significantly higher performance and offer significantly increased value to our customers in terms of price and reliability," said Nathan J. Lindsay, vice president and general manager, Lockheed Martin Astronautics Advanced Space Launch Systems. "The use of standard and 'kit-able' vehicle elements for Atlas V provides broad flexibility for the full range of medium- to heavy-lift payload customers." In addition, because Atlas V is much more operationally efficient than previous Atlas and Titan systems, significantly less time will be required to process and prepare each vehicle for launch, enabling much greater flexibility in launch manifesting. The hardware and software elements that make up the Atlas V are a combination of new hardware and components that will be flight-proven on existing Atlas configurations. The Common Core Booster(TM) will be powered by the new RD-180 engine using liquid oxygen and kerosene propellants. The basic RD-180 is anticipated to be flight-proven on Atlas III a full two years prior to its first use for Atlas V. To date, 13 RD-180 engines have been test fired for a total of more than 12,500 seconds to validate the booster propulsion systems -- this is equivalent to the cumulative engine run time for 55 Atlas V flights. The RD- 180 and booster propulsion systems will undergo additional validations for other specific Atlas V applications. The common Centaur upper stage uses liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen propellants and has the performance option of using one or two RL10 engines. The new Centaur will be flight-proven on the Atlas III configuration more than a year before first use on Atlas V. Lockheed Martin Astronautics, in Denver, Colo., has overall responsibility for the Atlas V launch vehicle. Astronautics' Harlingen, Tex., Operations builds metallic payload fairings, interstage adapters and aft thrust structures. The company's San Diego, Calif., Operations welds Centaur structures. Astronautics' Launch Operations organization at Cape Canaveral and Vandenberg Air Force Base oversees launch site activation and provides launch operations for all Lockheed Martin configurations. Other members of Lockheed Martin's Atlas V team, their locations and responsibilities include:
* RD AMROSS, LLC (a joint venture of Pratt & Whitney, West Palm Beach, Fla., and NPO Energomash, Khimky, Russia) -- RD-180 engine for the Common Core Booster(TM); * Pratt & Whitney also provides the RL10 engine for the Centaur; * Contraves Space, Zurich, Switzerland -- composite payload fairings; * CASA, Madrid, Spain -- conical interstage adapters; * Honeywell, Clearwater, Fla. -- avionics system; * Hensel Phelps, Greeley, Colo. -- general contractor for launch site activation; * AJT & Associates, Cape Canaveral, Fla. -- design of launch facilities; * GenCorp Aerojet, Sacramento, Calif. -- solid rocket motors.
Astronautics is one of the operating units of Lockheed Martin's Space & Strategic Missiles Sector headquartered in Bethesda, Md. Astronautics designs, develops, tests and manufactures a variety of advanced technology systems for space and defense. Chief products include planetary spacecraft and other space systems, space launch systems and ground systems. Customer interface and launch vehicle mission management are provided by International Launch Services (ILS), headquartered in San Diego, Calif. ILS was formed in 1995 to jointly market commercial launch services on Atlas and the Russian- built Proton launch vehicles.