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First Atlas 5 launch delayed a month
Posted: Wed, Mar 6, 2002, 7:58 AM ET (1258 GMT)
Atlas 5 400-series illustration (Lockheed Martin) The first launch of the Atlas 5 will be delayed at least a month because of payload problems, Space News reported Tuesday. The Atlas 5 401 was scheduled to launch the HotBird-6 satellite for Eutelsat on May 9. Final assembly and testing of the satellite has fallen behind schedule, according to International Launch Services president Mark Albrecht, forcing ILS to delay the launch until at least mid-June, and possibly until July. A new launch date will be announced when the Alcatel-built spacecraft completes thermal vacuum testing in mid-March. The launch will be the first for the Atlas 5, developed as part of the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) program with funding support from the US Air Force. Boeing's EELV entry, the Delta 4, is scheduled to make its inaugural flight in July, also carrying a Eutelsat spacecraft. A second Atlas 5 launch is still scheduled for December.
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