NASA has chosen the Atlas III expendable vehicle offered
in a competitive bid by Lockheed Martin Commercial Launch
Services, Inc. for the launch of NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance
Orbiter scheduled to occur in 2005. Lockheed Martin
Commercial Launch Services is a division of International
Launch Services of McLean, Va.

This is a firm fixed-price task order awarded under the terms
of the current NASA Launch Services contract for
intermediate-class launch services for which Lockheed Martin
Commercial Launch Services is one of two selected providers.

The prime contractor for the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter
spacecraft is Lockheed Martin Astronautics in Denver, Colo.,
which is responsible for spacecraft design, integration of
the science instruments and the support of mission
operations. The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter mission is
managed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory which is a
division of the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena,

The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter spacecraft will weigh
approximately 4,355 pounds (1,975 kg) and have a 200 by 155
mile-high (250 by 320 km) polar orbit around Mars. The
spacecraft’s instruments provide significant improvements in
resolution and data volume over previous missions and are
being developed by both U.S. and foreign investigator teams.
The spacecraft also provides telecommunications and
navigation support for future Mars missions. There is a 21-
day planetary launch period for the Mars Reconnaissance
Orbiter that extends from August 8 to August 28, 2005.