An Atlas III rocket
provided by International Launch Services (ILS) has been selected to
launch the latest in a line of mobile communications satellites for
the U.S. Navy. Lockheed Martin Space Systems builds the Atlas

ILS will launch the Navy’s UHF Follow-On (UFO) F-11 satellite in
2003 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla. The satellite’s
manufacturer, Boeing Satellite Systems Inc., (BSS) has contracted for
the launch services with ILS under its delivery-in-orbit contract with
the Navy, as it has with the other satellites in the UFO series.

“Atlas has carried all 10 previous UFO satellites throughout the
1990s, so the F-11 launch will be reunion of a great and experienced
team,” said ILS President Mark J. Albrecht. “We look forward to
continuing our relationship with the Navy and satellite manufacturing

Albrecht noted that the Atlas III will be the fourth variant of
the Atlas family to carry a UFO satellite for the Navy. “As the UFO
satellite design has evolved in capability, so too has the Atlas
launch vehicle evolved to meet the changing performance needs,” he

This is the fifth launch ordered from ILS in 2001, and the second
Atlas III launch booked this year. It brings the ILS backlog to 40
confirmed missions on its Atlas II, III and V vehicles and Proton K
and M rockets. Separate from the backlog are seven missions for the
U.S. Air Force, which were assigned to the Atlas V under the Evolved
Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) program.

The Atlas III offers increased lift capability to handle
spacecraft up to nearly 5 tons. The vehicle debuted in May 2000,
continuing the Atlas tradition of successful first flights of all
variants, each carrying a paying customer. Another Atlas III is
scheduled to carry the Echostar 7 satellite in the fourth quarter of
this year. The Atlas family boasts 54 consecutive successful missions.

Atlas III uses the Russian-built RD-180 engine, the first
American-designed launch vehicle to use a Russian propulsion system.
The RD-180 will also power the Atlas V, which Lockheed Martin is
developing for the EELV program and commercial missions. The first
Atlas V is in the final assembly stages and will be launched next

ILS is a joint venture of Lockheed Martin Commercial Launch
Services and Lockheed Khrunichev Energia International. It provides
launch services to customers worldwide using both the American Atlas
and the Russian Proton rocket families.

ILS was formed in 1995. Its Atlas rockets and their Centaur upper
stages are built by Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company-Astronautics
Operations at facilities in Denver, Colo.; Harlingen, Texas; and San
Diego, Calif. The three-stage Proton is produced by Khrunichev State
Research and Production Space Center at its factory near Moscow. The
fourth stage is built by RSC Energia, also near Moscow.

ILS offers the broadest range of launcher products in the world
along with the highest reliability in the industry. For more
information, visit