October 2, 2015 – United Launch Alliance (ULA) successfully launched its 100th mission today with an Atlas V rocket carrying the Morelos-3 satellite for Mexico’s Ministry of Communications and Transportation. The mission, procured for Mexico by Lockheed Martin Commercial Launch Services, launched at 6:28 a.m. EDT from Space Launch Complex-41.
“Congratulations to Lockheed Martin Commercial Launch Services and Mexico’s Ministry of Communications and Transportation on today’s successful delivery of the Morelos-3 satellite into orbit, providing advanced telecommunications throughout Mexico.” said Jim Sponnick, ULA vice president, Atlas and Delta Programs. “Today was an especially proud day for our team as we launched our 100th successful one-at-a-time mission since ULA was formed in 2006. Congratulations to the entire team including our many mission partners on this unprecedented achievement.”
The Morelos-3 launch was accelerated to an earlier position on the Atlas launch manifest. The acceleration was accommodated by an agreement with the U.S. Air Force. The agreement allowed the MEXSAT customer to launch atop an Atlas V rocket utilizing a launch slot that was previously manifested for a Global Positioning System satellite. This change demonstrates ULA’s ability to meet the needs of commercial customers and the Air Force’s willingness to accommodate real-time needs of other satellite programs.
Morelos-3 is part of the Mexsat constellation of satellites, which provide secure communications for Mexico’s national security needs and communications to rural zones to complement other existing networks. The Mexsat program is an end-to-end satellite communications system that provides 3G+ communications services to mobile terminals across multiple platforms. These services include education and health programs, voice, data, video and internet.
The capabilities of an integrated Mexsat system will enhance Mexico’s disaster relief efforts, emergency services, telemedicine, rural education and telecommunications access for populations in remote locations of Mexico. Support in these areas is instrumental to positioning the country for infrastructure maintainability and future growth.
“The quality and reliability of the Atlas V is unparalleled, and today it delivered on a critical step toward bringing next-generation mobile telecommunications services to Mexico,” said Steve Skladanek, president of Lockheed Martin Commercial Launch Services. “The placement of Morelos-3 into orbit is vital to an effective Mexsat constellation, and partnering with ULA, we were able to help the customer achieve that mission.”
ULA’s next launch is an Atlas V rocket carrying a payload for the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), scheduled for October 8 from Space Launch Complex-3 at Vandenberg Air Force Base, California.