Inaugural Launch of Lockheed Martin Atlas V Rocket

23 August 2002

A composite structure flew into space on the new Lockheed Martin Atlas V 400 rocket yesterday, as the largest and most powerful member of the Atlas family of launch vehicles made its inaugural launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla.

ATK Composites, Clearfield, Utah, manufactured the 12-foot diameter heat shield assembly, which surrounds the Atlas V 400 RD-180 main engine. The company also manufactures the composite Centaur interstage adapter and boattail, which are components on the Atlas V 500 rocket scheduled to fly for the first time later this year. The parts are fabricated at the company's Utah Composites Center in Clearfield and Southern Composites Center in Iuka, Miss.

In its first mission, the Atlas V rocket successfully placed the newest Eutelsat HOT BIRD satellite into supersynchronous transfer orbit, where it will deliver analogue and digital television channels to viewers in Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East.

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