ATLAS III CHOSEN TO LAUNCH MARS RECONNAISSANCE ORBITER
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 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, a division of the California Institute of
Technology, Pasadena, Calif.
The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter spacecraft will weigh approximately
1,975 kilograms (4,355 pounds) and have a 250 by 320 kilometer-high
(200 by 155 mile) 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 international
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.