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Lockheed Martin's Athena 1 launch vehicle, formerly the Lockheed Martin Launch Vehicle 1 (LMLV-1), is a two-stage solid propellant vehicle based on the Thiokol Castor 120 solid rocket motor. Since its initial demonstration flight which ended in failure, it has been redesigned and its management and manufacturing approach restructured. It is capable of putting 1,755 lb. into a LEO orbit. The Athena 2 (formerly the LMLV-2) is essentially an Athena 1 with an additional Castor 120 solid rocket motor. Its LEO capacity is 4,390 lb.

The Athena program is based on over 40 years of successful space launch vehicle and solid rocket missile system experience. Lockheed Martin has launched more than 1,100 vehicles, produced over 2,900 missile systems with six generations of highly reliable fleet ballistic missiles (Polaris, Poseidon and Trident) and has established government range interfaces. Athena is a core component of the Lockheed Martin launch vehicle family which also includes the Titan IV, Titan II, MSLS, Atlas and Proton vehicles. The Athena is available in two versions, Athena I and Athena II.

The Athena program began in January 1993. Specific development milestones include successful static firings of the Castor 120® rocket motor in April 1992 and March 1993, Model 92 fairing separation test in May 1994, successful static firing of the Orbus® rocket motors in June 1994, the Pathfinder exercise to verify assembly and procedures in July 1994, an integration test on the Demonstration Launch Vehicle (DLV) in August 1994, and the DLV launch in August 1995.

The maiden flight of the Lockheed Martin Vehicle (LLV), renamed the Lockheed Martin Launch Vehicle (LMLV), on 15 August 1995 was terminated in mid-flight after uncontrolled oscillations of the rocket were detected. This resulted in the loss of the vehicle and the payload. There is speculation that the cause of mishap was guidance system failure coupled with overheating of the booster's first stage steering mechanism. The payload on board was GEMstar 1, a small communications satellite manufactured by CTA, Inc. for the Volunteers in Technical Assistance (VITA), a non-profit organization.

The LMLV was slated to launch the Lewis and Clark satellites, two NASA science payloads, scheduled for June 1996 (Clark) and July 1996 (Lewis). NASA Administrator, Dan Goldin, announced in September 1995 that all new rockets must first complete a successful test flight before they can carry any NASA payloads. However, it was announced in December 1995 that NASA will not require a demonstration flight of the LMLV prior to Lewis and Clark flights.

Lockheed Martin in 1996 began design work on a three-stage version of the Lockheed Martin Launch Vehicle called the LMLV-2. The new rocket built on the design of the two-stage LMLV-1 but would be capable of lofting payloads in the 1,800 kilogram-range rather than the LMLV-1's 900-kilogram range.

The first operational mission of the Athena, an Athena I, successfully launched the NASA Lewis satellite into orbit from Vandenberg Air Force Base (VAFB), Calif., on Aug. 22, 1997. The first Athena II was successfully launched from Cape Canaveral Air Station (CCAS), Fla., on Jan. 6, 1998, sending NASA's Lunar Prospector spacecraft on its mission to study the moon. Subsequent successful missions include Athena I/ROCSAT-1 for the Republic of China on Jan. 26, 1999, Athena/IKONOS for Space Imaging from CCAFS Sept. 24, 1999, and Athena/Kodiak Star for NASA from Kodiak, Alaska, Sept. 29, 2001.

Athena I : Up to 1,750 lb (794 kg)
Athena II : Up to 4,350 lb (1896 kg)

CASTOR 120 ® MOTOR Athena I First Stage, Athena II First & Second Stage
Composite case; blowdown cold gas-powered hydraulic thrust vector control (TVC) actuators
Length: 347 in.
Diameter: 93 in.
Engine Thrust: 435,000 lb
Propellant: Class 1.3 Hydroxyl- terminated polybutadiene (HTPB-a polymer) propellant
Contractor: Thiokol

ORBUS ® 21D Athena I Second Stage, Athena II Third Stage
Composite case; carbon phenolic nozzle; electromechanical TVC actuators
Length: 124 in.
Diameter: 92 in.
Engine Thrust: 43,723 lb
Propellants: Class 1.3 HTPB Solid
Contractor: Pratt & Whitney Space Propulsion Operations, Chemical Systems Division

ORBIT ADJUST MODULE - The OAM houses the attitude control system and avionics subsystem (guidance and navigation, batteries, telemetry transmitters, command and destruct receivers and antennas) that is common to Athena I and Athena II. The monopropellant hydrazine fuel (a liquid) attitude control system performs orbital injection corrections, roll control, velocity trim and orbit circularizing maneuvers. The OAM is located directly beneath the payload to perform the final orbit injection burns and any needed to put the satellite in the precise orbit. The OAM weighs 819 pounds dry, and can carry a maximum 960 pounds of hydrazine. After payload separation, the OAM performs a contamination and collision avoidance maneuver, distancing itself from the payload and burning any remaining fuel to depletion.

ATTITUDE CONTROL SYSTEM - The attitude control system, provided by Boeing Primex Technologies, uses off-the-shelf propulsion components. The propellant load is tailored to the specific mission.

PAYLOAD FAIRING ENVELOPE - The payload fairing envelope allows satellite volume growth; makes initial design tasks easier and less costly; and allows designers to focus on performance, higher reliability, and lower cost.

Athena I and II Payload Envelope
Length: 169 in.
Diameter: 78 in.
Athena I
Height: 65 ft
Weight: 146,264 lb

Athena II
Height: 100 ft
Weight: 265,000 lb

CHECKOUT & LAUNCH CONTROL VAN - All checkout and launch-control equipment is housed in a Launch Vehicle Control Van - a 40-foot vehicle located in proximity to the launch pad. The van contains operator positions for the launch director, spacecraft director and the Air Force Range Safety representative. The van is connected to the launch facility through fiber-optic and copper wires, and is the point of control during launch countdown.


Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company - Denver, Colo. - Production Operations (Lot 2 and on), Business Development, Business Operations, Mission Management, Engineering, Launch Operations  Litton, Salt Lake City, Utah - Inertial Measurement Unit Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company - Sunnyvale, Calif. - Production Operations
Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company - Santa Cruz, Calif. - Ordnance Manufacturing  Primex Technologies, Redmond, Wash. - Attitude Control Systems ATK Thiokol, Ogden, Utah - Castor 120 ® Rocket Motors Pratt & Whitney Space Propulsion Operations, Chemical Systems Division, San Jose, Calif. - Orbus® 21D Rocket Motors

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Page last modified: 21-07-2011 00:45:43 ZULU