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11:02 AM, December 16, 2014
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Alaska Aerospace Corporation (AAC) selected Lockheed Martin's Athena IIS rocket as its launch vehicle of choice for small and medium lift missions from the Kodiak Launch Complex (KLC) on December 15.

Lockheed Martin and AAC will work together to define and implement rocket and launch pad upgrades to support a wider range of government and commercial payloads on an Athena vehicle launched from KLC.

The announcement marks the beginning of a planning phase, during when Lockheed Martin and AAC will finalize the scope of upgrades. A contract award from AAC to Lockheed Martin is expected once when plans are completed. The upgraded Athena IIS will support payloads from 1,900 to 3,000 kilograms, or about 4,200 to 6,600 lbs.

"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 (LMCLS). "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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