ILS To Launch Classified NRO Payload In 2006
International Launch Services (ILS) has received authorization to begin operations for the launch of a new classified payload for the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) on a Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT]-built Atlas V rocket. The launch is set for early 2006 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla. This NRO launch is a new mission added to ILS’ existing contract for launches under the Air Force’s Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) program.
ILS’ most recent mission for the NRO was the successful Dec. 2 launch of a national security payload on an Atlas IIAS vehicle from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. That was the final Atlas IIAS mission from the West Coast, and Lockheed Martin is modifying its facilities at Vandenberg in order to accommodate Atlas V operations in 2005.