December 15, 2014 – Alaska Aerospace Corporation (AAC) has selected Lockheed Martin’s Athena rocket as its launch vehicle of choice for small and medium lift missions from the Kodiak Launch Complex (KLC). Lockheed Martin and AAC will work together to define and implement rocket and launch pad upgrades to support a wider range of government and commercial payloads on an Athena vehicle launched from KLC.
Today’s announcement marks the beginning of a planning phase, during which Lockheed Martin and AAC will finalize the scope of upgrades. A contract award from AAC to Lockheed Martin is expected once plans are completed. The upgraded Athena IIS will support payloads from 1,900 to 3,000 kilograms, or about 4,200 to 6,600 lbs.
“Upgrading Athena and the KLC will give government and commercial launch customers a much-needed medium-lift launch capability on the West Coast,” said Steve Skladanek, president of Lockheed Martin Commercial Launch Services (LMCLS). “Athena and Alaska are ideal for sun-synchronous orbit missions like Earth imaging and remote sensing, and also well-suited for launching multiple small satellites on a single rocket.”
Since its first launch in 1997, the Athena family of rockets has proven itself as an affordable, reliable launch vehicle for government and commercial missions. The planned medium-lift upgrades will further enhance Athena’s capabilities so it can address an even wider array of payloads.
LMCLS provides Atlas V launch services to all commercial and international satellite customers worldwide, and also offers Athena launch services. LMCLS is responsible for contracts, licensing, marketing, sales and mission management for Atlas and Athena missions.
AAC owns and operates the Kodiak Launch Complex (KLC). KLC is the first commercial spaceport in the United States not collocated on a federal range and is the nation’s only high-latitude, full-service spaceport. AAC provides mobile Range Safety and Telemetry support utilizing expert technicians and mobile equipment.