NASA Selects ILS to Launch Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter in 2005 International Launch Services

NASA’s Kennedy Space Center has chosen International Launch Services (ILS) to launch the latest in its series of missions to Mars. ILS is scheduled to launch the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter on an Atlas III launch vehicle in August 2005 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla. The Atlas is one of three families of rockets offered by ILS, which is a joint venture of Lockheed Martin Corp. and two Russian companies, Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Center and RSC Energia of Moscow. ILS was formed to market and manage the missions for the Atlas and the Russian Proton and Angara vehicles. Both the Atlas rocket and the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter are being built by Lockheed Martin Space Systems Co. of Denver. The Atlas II and III series boast a perfect record of 100 percent mission success in 60 consecutive launches.