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Atlas 3 wins two launch contracts
Posted: Wed, Jun 12, 2002, 9:00 AM ET (1300 GMT)
Atlas 3B launch on AC-204 mission (ILS) Lockheed Martin's Atlas 3 booster won two contracts Tuesday to launch a commercial communications satellite and a NASA Mars mission. International Launch Services announced Tuesday that it had signed a contract with Space Systems/Loral (SS/L) to launch MBSAT, a satellite SS/L is building for Japan's Mobile Broadcasting Corporation. The 1300-series satellite is scheduled for launch in the fourth quarter of 2003. The contract is only the seventh commercial launch contract for any vehicle announced so far this year. Later Tuesday NASA announced that it had selected the Atlas 3 to launch the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO), an orbiter with a high-resolution camera, scheduled for launch in August 2005. The selection was made under an existing NASA Launch Services contract between NASA and Lockheed Martin Commercial Launch Services. MRO will be the first Mars-bound NASA mission not launched by a Boeing Delta 2 since a Titan 3 launched Mars Observer in 1992.
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