LOCKHEED MARTIN'S ATLAS V SOLID ROCKET MOTOR COMPLETES SUCCESSFUL THIRD TEST FIRING AT AEROJET
DENVER, CO, December 12th, 2002 -- Lockheed Martin's Atlas V 500 series launch vehicle is one step closer to first launch next year with the third test firing of the solid rocket motor (SRM) built by Aerojet of Sacramento, Calif. The full-scale, 67-foot Atlas V solid rocket motor performed a full-duration burn for 95 seconds at Aerojet's massive test stand near Sacramento at thrust levels ranging from 285,000 to 390,000 pounds. "The Atlas V success story did not stop with the inaugural launch this past August," said John Karas, vice president of Atlas and Advanced Space Transportation. "The entire team, including outstanding suppliers like Aerojet, continues to meet test and development milestones that will lead us to the first launch of our Atlas V 500 series vehicle next year."
The first Atlas V 500 series vehicle will use the added thrust of two Aerojet SRMs and will carry its payload inside the new, larger 5.4-meter payload fairing. As part of the "pathfinding" activities for that first launch, a practice countdown will be performed next week, Dec. 17-19, using AV-002, the second Atlas V currently scheduled to launch early next year. AV-002 will be configured with the 5.4-meter fairing for the practice countdown, known as a "wet dress rehearsal." Earlier this year, the launch team performed similar pathfinder operations with an inert solid rocket motor. These activities allow the team to ensure that the launch structures operate properly with the new flight hardware.
The Atlas V family is designed to lift payloads up to 19,000 pounds (nearly 8,700 kg) to geosynchronous transfer orbit (GTO). Up to five SRMs can be strapped to an Atlas V 400 or 500 series vehicle, depending on the mission requirements. Lockheed Martin developed Atlas V to meet the U.S. Air Force requirements for the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) program and for commercial missions, both of which are managed by International Launch Services (ILS).
Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company is one of the core operating units of Lockheed Martin Corporation. Space Systems designs, develops, tests, manufactures and operates a variety of advanced technology systems for military, civil and commercial customers. Chief products include a full-range of space launch systems, including heavy-lift capability, ground systems, remote sensing and communications satellites for commercial and government customers, advanced space observatories and interplanetary spacecraft, fleet ballistic missiles and missile defense systems.