Saturday, October 3, 2015

ULA Launches Mexican Morelos-3 Satellite

United Launch Alliance (ULA) successfully launched its 100th mission with an Atlas V rocket carrying the Morelos-3 satellite for Mexico’s Ministry of Communications and Transportation. The mission, procured for Mexico by Lockheed Martin Commercial Launch Services, launched at 6:28 a.m. EDT from Space Launch Complex-41. Credit: ULA

United Launch Alliance (ULA) successfully launched its 100th mission Saturday with an Atlas V rocket carrying the Morelos-3 satellite for Mexico’s Ministry of Communications and Transportation. The mission, procured for Mexico by Lockheed Martin Commercial Launch Services, launched at 6:28 a.m. EDT from Space Launch Complex-41 at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla.

“Congratulations to Lockheed Martin Commercial Launch Services and Mexico’s Ministry of Communications and Transportation on today’s successful delivery of the Morelos-3 satellite into orbit, providing advanced telecommunications throughout Mexico.” said Jim Sponnick, ULA vice president, Atlas and Delta Programs. “Today was an especially proud day for our team as we launched our 100th successful one-at-a-time mission since ULA was formed in 2006. Congratulations to the entire team including our many mission partners on this unprecedented achievement.”

The Morelos-3 launch was accelerated to an earlier position on the Atlas launch manifest. The acceleration was accommodated by an agreement with the U.S. Air Force. The agreement allowed the MEXSAT customer to launch atop an Atlas V rocket utilizing a launch slot that was previously manifested for a Global Positioning System satellite. This change demonstrates ULA’s ability to meet the needs of commercial customers and the Air Force’s willingness to accommodate real-time needs of other satellite programs. 

“With every launch I am reminded that the products we build are extremely important to our customers,” said Scott Lehr, President of Orbital ATK’s Flight Systems Group. “We are pleased to be a part of this important mission to help increase the telecommunications capability of the Government of Mexico.”



Orbital ATK’s contributions to the Atlas V and Morelos-3 satellite include cutting-edge technologies from across the company. Contributions include a large composite faring, retro motors and propellant tanks for the rocket, and thermal and structural components on the satellite. 

This mission was launched aboard an Atlas V 421 configuration vehicle, which includes a 4-meter diameter payload fairing and two Aerojet Rocketdyne solid rocket motors attached to the Atlas booster. The Atlas booster for this mission was powered by the RD AMROSS RD-180 engine and the Centaur upper stage was powered by the Aerojet Rocketdyne RL10C-1 engine. This was the 57th Atlas V launch since the vehicle’s inaugural mission in 2002 and the fifth in the 421 configuration.

"Aerojet Rocketdyne is honored to have provided the Mexican government with reliable propulsion in support of its growing satellite communication needs," said Steve Bouley, vice president of Space Launch Systems at Aerojet Rocketdyne. "Congratulations to all our industry partners on yet another successful mission."

Morelos-3 is part of the Mexsat constellation of satellites, which provide secure communications for Mexico’s national security needs and communications to rural zones to complement other existing networks. The Mexsat program is an end-to-end satellite communications system that provides 3G+ communications services to mobile terminals across multiple platforms. These services include education and health programs, voice, data, video and internet. 

ULA's next launch is an Atlas V rocket carrying a payload for the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), scheduled for Oct. 8 from Space Launch Complex-3 at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.

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