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First ICO Bird Soars As Atlas V Lofts Its Heavist Load Yet

ULA Atlas V rocketA launching the ICO G1 from Cape Canaveral, Florida at 4:12 pm Eastern time, Monday, April 14. Photo courtesy of Pat Corkery/Lockheed Martin Commercial Launch Services and United Launch AllAiance.
by Staff Writers
Cape Canaveral FL (SPX) Apr 15, 2008
A United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket successfully launched the ICO-G1 satellite at 4:12 p.m. EDT, today. Blasting off from Space Launch Complex 41 here, it marked the first ULA commercial launch of an Atlas V vehicle procured by Lockheed Martin Commercial Launch Services.

The ICO-G1 satellite is also the heaviest satellite launched to date by an Atlas V, weighing 6,634 kg or 14,625 lbm when fueled.

ICO Global Communications (Holdings) Limited, a next-generation satellite communications company based in Reston, Va., is deploying G1 as part of its mobile interactive media service, to be known as ICO mim.

ICO mim will combine ICO's unique interactive satellite capability with nationwide coverage to deliver a new level of interactive navigation, enhanced roadside assistance and the ultimate mobile video experience, including 10-15 channels of premium television content.

"ULA congratulates our commercial space partners ICO, Lockheed Martin Commercial Launch Services and Space Systems/Loral, the spacecraft manufacturer, on their tremendous mission success," said Jim Sponnick, ULA vice president of Atlas Programs.

"At the same time, we all appreciate the dedicated and professional support from our Air Force customers, the Space and Missile Systems Center, and the 45th Space Wing in the success of today's launch. ULA and its employees are proud to have successfully launched this very large and capable satellite for ICO, to enable their enhanced mobile capabilities for consumers worldwide."

This mission, designated AV-014, was launched aboard an Atlas V 421 configuration using the Common Core Booster powered by the RD-180 engine, two Aerojet strap-on solid rocket motors, a Centaur stage powered by one Pratt and Whitney-manufactured RL10 engine, and a 4-meter diameter fairing.

This Atlas V flight marked the 210th RD-180 firing. The 13 previous Atlas V launches, 12 from Florida and one from California, included two missions for NASA, three for the NRO, two for the Air Force, and six for commercial customers.

ULA manufactures the Atlas V booster in Denver, Colo., and the Centaur stage in San Diego, Calif. In November 2007, the booster arrived at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on an Antonov aircraft from Denver, followed by the Centaur stage.

The booster was placed on stand at the Vertical Integration Facility for processing Jan. 18, with the integrated spacecraft mate occurring April 2.

ULA's next launch, currently scheduled for May 16 with a launch window of 11:45 a.m - 1:40 p.m. EDT, is the GLAST satellite for NASA aboard a Delta II Heavy rocket from SLC-17B at CCAFS, Fla.

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Arianespace Lauds Japan Relationship As A Partnership Of Trust
Tokyo, Japan (SPX) Apr 13, 2008
Arianespace underscored its important role in the Japanese market during a week of activities that included today's (April 11) signing of a new satellite launch for Ariane 5: the BSAT-3b spacecraft to be operated by Japan's Broadcasting Satellite System Corporation (B-SAT).

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