ULA Atlas V launches with ICO-GI

by Chris Bergin

A United Launch Alliance Atlas V (AV-014) has launched with the ICO-GI commercial telecommunications satellite from Cape Canaveral’s SLC-41 in Florida. Launch was on schedule at 4:12pm EDT.

NASASpaceflight.com covered the launch as a live event, with background, live updates, images – available on the links below (read more).


**Atlas V/ICO-GI – Live Update Pages** 

Launch Success:

This mission, designated AV-014, was launched aboard an Atlas V 421 configuration using the Common Core Booster powered by the RD-180 engine, two Aerojet strap-on solid rocket motors, a Centaur stage powered by one Pratt & Whitney-manufactured RL10 engine, and a 4-meter diameter fairing.

This Atlas V flight marked the 210th RD-180 firing. The 13 previous Atlas V launches, 12 from Florida and one from California, included two missions for NASA, three for the NRO, two for the Air Force, and six for commercial customers.

‘ULA congratulates our commercial space partners ICO, Lockheed Martin Commercial Launch Services and Space Systems/Loral, the spacecraft manufacturer, on their tremendous mission success,’ said Jim Sponnick, ULA vice president of Atlas Programs.

‘At the same time, we all appreciate the dedicated and professional support from our Air Force customers, the Space and Missile Systems Center, and the 45th Space Wing in the success of today’s launch.

‘ULA and its employees are proud to have successfully launched this very large and capable satellite for ICO, to enable their enhanced mobile capabilities for consumers worldwide.’

The ICO G1 satellite is over 27 feet tall, features a 12-meter unfurlable mesh S-band reflector, provides 16 kilowatts of power with solar arrays that span over 100 feet when deployed, and weighs in at approximately 6,634 kg fueled, making it the heaviest satellite ever launched aboard an Atlas V booster.


The spacecraft – built by Space Systems/Loral – will be located at 92.85 degrees west, providing ubiquitous coverage over the United States.

ICO Global Communications (Holdings) Limited is a satellite communications company developing an advanced next-generation hybrid media system, combining both satellite and terrestrial communications capabilities.

‘This is a vitally important launch to ICO and we’re proud to have been selected as the launch services partner,’ said David Markham, president of Lockheed Martin Commercial Launch Services.

‘This launch also will demonstrate the flexibility of the Atlas program that can be applied to the commercial market as we continue to seek one to two commercial customers per year.’

A successful launch of the satellite is also vital for ICO, following their recent agreement for $40 million of working capital – facilitated by Jefferies Finance LLC.
ICO are aiming to certify the mobile satellite services systems operational by May 15, 2008

‘We will launch one of the largest commercial satellites ever built,’ said Tim Bryan, chief executive officer of ICO.

‘With the closing of our $40 million working capital facility, coupled with last week’s positive action on our milestone extension request, we have the momentum we need to forge ahead in delivering an exciting new generation of mobile interactive services.’

Re-live the launch updates on the live event pages, linked above.

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