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Air Force to evenly split future EELV launches
Posted: Tue, Apr 12, 2005, 8:32 AM ET (1232 GMT)
Atlas 5 launch of AMC-16 (ILS) The US Air Force will split a new batch of EELV launch contacts evenly between Lockheed Martin's Atlas 5 and Boeing's Delta 4, military officials said last week. At the National Space Symposium conference in Colorado, Air Force officials said the "Buy 3" round of contracts for EELV program, to be awarded later this year, will be split "as evenly as possible" between the two programs. The Air Force, which planned to wait until as late as early next year to award the 23 launch contracts, now plans to assign launches to the vehicles by the end of May and start ordering launches in August; moving the contract up allows the Air Force to avoid new, more stringent contracting requirements being imposed by the Pentagon. The contracts will allow both vehicles to maintain a steady rate of production and operations for the next several years, and would also allow Lockheed Martin to develop a heavy version of the Atlas 5.
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