[Via Satellite 12-15-2014] The state-owned Alaska Aerospace Corporation (AAC), owner and operator of the Kodiak Launch Complex (KLC), has selected Lockheed Martin’s Athena launch vehicle to conduct the spaceport’s small and medium lift missions. The two are finalizing the scope of upgrades to enable Athena to handle a wider range of commercial and government payloads, following which Lockheed Martin anticipates a contract award from AAC.
Once upgraded, the Athena 2S rocket is expected to support payloads ranging from 1,900 to 3,000 kg. Lockheed Martin reintroduced the Athena in 2010, and sees a market for as many as a dozen small satellite launches per year. The planned medium-lift upgrades will further enhance Athena’s capabilities to address a greater range of payloads.
“Upgrading Athena and the KLC will give government and commercial launch customers a much-needed medium-lift launch capability on the West Coast,” said Steve Skladanek, president of Lockheed Martin Commercial Launch Services. “Athena and Alaska are ideal for sun-synchronous orbit missions like Earth imaging and remote sensing, and also well-suited for launching multiple small satellites on a single rocket.”
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