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Atlas 3 Scrubbed To Tuesday
Cape Canaveral - May 21, 2000 - The first Atlas 3 launch has been delayed yet again. This time due to problems during de-tanking that will require a delay until no earlier than Tuesday's two hour and 20 minute launch window that opens at 5.38pm EDT.

Sunday's launch was scrubbed following a downrange filled with boats enjoying an annual fishing tournament. Reset to launch at the very end of the window, the boats were only cleared in the final minutes allowing a green to be finally given.

But then a technical problem at T- 2.15 minutes caused a scrub to be called as the countdown had to be reset to T- 5 minutes, which by then, was beyond the launch window that closed at 7.58.

The Atlas 3 is a combination of the Atlas 2 but revved up with the new RD-180 engine built by Pratt & Whitney and NPO Energomash.

The payload is a Eutelsat W4 bird built by Alcatel and will will provide Ku-band capability for digital TV and broadband Internet access to Russia and sub-Saharan Africa.

The Eastern Range was in a "red" condition for most of the launch window due to numerous boats from a fishing tournament that had to be cleared from the waters off Cape Canaveral.

The launch team lost 129 minutes of the 139-minute window waiting for this to be resolved.

An additional ten minutes was added to the beginning of the launch window when a planned hold was extended to troubleshoot a sticky liquid oxygen ground support equipment valve.

When the Range finally went "green," the launch team was ready to pick up the count aiming for a launch attempt in the last few seconds of the window.

With approximately 2 minutes remaining in the window, the launch countdown was aborted because of an error message on the launch computer display. The anomaly was quickly resolved but no time remained in the launch window for another attempt.

The new RD-180 is marketed and sold by RD AMROSS, LLC, a joint venture formed by Pratt & Whitney, an operating unit of United Technologies Corporation based in West Palm Beach, FL, and NPO Energomash, Khimky, Russia.

The engine used on AC-201 (designated 2T) has been built by NPO Energomash. Pratt & Whitney has been a supplier of the Centaur upper stage RL10 engines since the flight of Atlas Centaur AC-2 in November 1963.

With the RD-180, this will mark the first use ever of a Russian propulsion system on a U.S. designed launch vehicle and represents a major breakthrough on several levels.

Lockheed Martin sees this international partnership with RD AMROSS and NPO Energomash as the way to ensure very efficient and reliable access to space. It brings international technical excellence together on a truly global scale.

The Atlas III launch vehicles provide a major increase in performance capability through the use of the RD-180 engine. The RD-180 burns liquid oxygen and RP-1 propellant and can be throttled up or down throughout the boost phase of flight, replacing the stage-and-a-half booster and four solid rocket boosters used by the Atlas IIAS.

  • Florida Today's Detailed Launch Log
  • International Launch Services
  • Eutelsat

    Atlas 3 Set For Launch
    Cape Canaveral - May 16, 2000 - Preparations are underway for a second launch attempt of the new Atlas III from Complex 36, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, this afternoon.

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