September 11, 2013
Mexico will launch its Morelos-3 communications satellite on an Atlas V “as early as 2015,” the first commercial mission for the big, Russian-powered U.S. rocket since November 2009.
Also known as Mexsat-2, Morelos-3 will be a Boeing 702HP spacecraft placed at 116.8 deg. W. Long. It is to be the third in a constellation of communications platforms owed by Mexico’s Secretaria de Comunicaciones y Transportes, a government agency, and operated by Telecommunicaciones de Mexico.
The launch-services deal was arranged by Lockheed Martin Commercial Launch Services (LMCLS) instead of United Launch Alliance, the company’s joint venture with Boeing that sells launch services to the U.S. government and provides Atlas vehicles and launch support services to LMCLS. The commercial unit’s last launch was Intelsat 14 in 2009.
The new Mexican platform will help link that nation’s rural areas and provide secure communications for national security.