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Atlas launches first New ICO satellite
Posted: Tue, Jun 19, 2001, 12:01 PM ET (1601 GMT)
Atlas 2AS launch of first New ICO satellite An Atlas 2 booster successfully launched early Tuesday the first spacecraft for satellite communications company New ICO. The Atlas 2AS lifted off from pad 36B at Cape Canaveral, Florida at 12:41 am EDT (0441 GMT) Tuesday after a problem-free countdown. It placed into a medium Earth orbit -- 10,400 km above the Earth -- the spacecraft, a modified version of a Boeing 601 communications satellite. New ICO plans to eventually place 10 such spacecraft into two orbital planes to provide voice and high-speed data communications roughly equivalent to third-generation (3G) mobile phone services currently under development. New ICO, the reorganized version of the original ICO satellite communications company salvaged from bankruptcy protection last year, did attempt one satellite launch in March 2000, but lost the satellite when the Sea Launch booster failed. That satellite, though, was part of the original ICO's plan that was scrapped during reorganization. Tuesday's launch was the first commercial Atlas launch of the year and the second for International Launch Systems in four days: it also managed Friday night's launch of a communications satellite on a Russian Proton booster.
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