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Atlas 5 Launch Prep Proceeding At Cape Canaveral

The Atlas 5 has lift off!
by Staff Writers
McLean VA (SPX) March 6, 2006
Technicians at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida are preparing a Lockheed Martin Atlas 5 rocket for a launch next month to carry a European commercial television satellite into orbit.

"We're still on target for April 20," Fran Slimmer, a spokeswoman for International Launch Systems, the joint Russian-American effort to market commercial lifting bodies, told SpaceDaily.com.

Technicians began assembling the launch package last Wednesday at the Launch Complex 41 Vertical Integration Facility. They raised the 100-foot-long Atlas first stage onto its mobile launch platform. Slimmer said the payload, an ASTRA 1KR direct-broadcast satellite intended to service European markets, is expected to arrive at Cape Canaveral this week.

Since its inaugural flight on Aug. 21, 2002, the Atlas V has flown successfully seven times � five times commercially and twice on NASA missions.

The rocket uses a booster stage powered by the RD-180 � for "raketny dvigatel," or "rocket engine" in Russian - system that burns a mixture of kerosene and liquid oxygen. The booster can accommodate between one and five strap-on solid rocket boosters.

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Roscosmos To Investigate ArabSat Orbit Error
McLean VA (SPX) March 6, 2006
Roscosmos, the Russian space agency, has formed a state commission to investigate the anomaly last week that caused a Proton Breeze M vehicle to place the ArabSat 4A satellite into an incorrect orbit. The commission, led by Victor Remishevsky, deputy director of Roscosmos, plans to complete the investigation by March 30.

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