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Maiden Atlas 5 launch a success
Posted: Wed, Aug 21, 2002, 9:46 PM ET (0146 GMT)
Atlas 5 liftoff The inaugural flight of the Atlas 5 booster was declared a success late Wednesday when it successfully launched a communications satellite. The Atlas 5 lifted off on schedule at 6:05 pm EDT (2205 GMT) from the new Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral, Florida. The rocket's payload, Eutelsat's Hot Bird 6 satellite, separated from the Atlas's Centaur upper stage 31 minutes after launch. Both the countdown and the launch itself were virtually flawless, with the launch vehicle performing exactly as expected. The launch was the first for the Atlas 5, developed as part of the US Air Force's Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) program. The other EELV booster, Boeing's Delta 4, is scheduled to fly in October.
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