Athena I


Athena I
Athena 1 rocket launching from Kodiak Island.jpg
Launch of an Athena I on the Kodiak Star mission.
FunctionSmall expendable launch system
ManufacturerLockheed Martin
Alliant Techsystems
Country of originUnited States
Height18.9 metres (62 ft)
Diameter2.36 metres (7 ft 9 in)
Mass66,300 kilograms (146,200 lb)
Payload to LEO
Mass820 kilograms (1,810 lb)
Payload to SSO
Mass360 kilograms (790 lb)
Associated rockets
DerivativesAthena II
ComparableFalcon 1
Minotaur IV
Launch history
Launch sites
Total launches4
First flight15 August 1995
Last flight30 September 2001
First stage – Castor 120
Engines1 solid
Thrust1,900 kilonewtons (430,000 lbf)
Specific impulse280 sec
Burn time83 seconds
Second stage (Athena I) – Orbus 21D
Engines1 solid
Thrust189.2 kilonewtons (42,500 lbf)
Specific impulse293 sec
Burn time150 seconds
Second stage (Athena Ic) – Castor 30
Engines1 solid
Thrust258.9 kilonewtons (58,200 lbf)[1]
Specific impulse294 sec[2]
Burn time143 seconds[2]
Third stage – OAM
Engines4 MR-107
Thrust882 newtons (198 lbf)
Specific impulse222 sec
Burn time1,500 seconds

The Athena I, known as the Lockheed Launch Vehicle (LLV) at the time of its first flight and Lockheed Martin Launch Vehicle (LMLV) at the time of its second flight,[3] is an American small expendable launch system which was used for four launches between 1995 and 2001. It is a member of the Athena family of rockets, along with the larger Athena II.[4]

The Athena I is a three-stage rocket, consisting of solid first and second stages, and a monopropellant liquid-fuelled third stage. The first stage is a Castor 120, which is also used on some versions of the Taurus rocket. An Orbus 21D motor was used as the second stage on launches up to 2001. If the rocket returns to service as Athena Ic, the Castor 30 would be used instead,[4] which was developed for the Antares rocket (originally called Taurus II).[1] The third stage is an Orbital Adjustment Module, fuelled by hydrazine and propelled by four MR-107 engines, which is used for final insertion.[5][6]

Prior to its retirement in 2001, Athena I launches were made from Space Launch Complex 6 at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Launch Complex 46 at Spaceport Florida, and Pad 1 of the Kodiak Launch Complex. Future Athena Ic flights could use the pads at Kodiak or Canaveral, with Launch Pad 0B of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport also on offer. If a launch from Vandenberg is ordered, Space Launch Complex 8 would be used instead of SLC-6, which was rebuilt as a Delta IV launch complex following the Athena's initial retirement.[7]

Four Athena I launches have been conducted, with one failure. Its maiden flight was conducted from SLC-6 at Vandenberg, and lifted off at 22:30 UTC on 15 August 1995. It was intended to place GemStar-1 into orbit, however the rocket was destroyed by the range safety officer after the failure of its thrust vectoring system resulted in a loss of control. The launch was the first from SLC-6, which had originally been built for the Titan III rocket for launches of the Manned Orbital Laboratory, and was later rebuilt for polar orbit Space Shuttle launches. Both MOL and polar Shuttle flights were cancelled before any launches were made from SLC-6. The next Athena I launch was on 23 August 1997, and successfully placed the Lewis satellite into orbit for NASA. This launch also took place from SLC-6 at Vandenberg. The third Athena I launch was from LC-46 at Spaceport Florida, and took place on 27 January 1999. The payload, ROCSAT-1, was the first satellite to be operated by the Republic of China. The fourth launch, which was conducted on 30 September 2001, was the first orbital launch to be made from Kodiak Island. Known as the Kodiak Star mission,[8] it successfully placed the Starshine 3, Picosat 9, PCSat and Sapphire satellites into orbit.[9]

See also


  1. ^ a b "Taurus II" (PDF). Orbital Sciences Corporation. Archived (PDF) from the original on 26 March 2010. Retrieved 26 March 2010.
  2. ^ a b Kyle, Ed (26 March 2010). "Taurus II". Space Launch Report. Retrieved 26 March 2010.
  3. ^ Wade, Mark. "Athena". Encyclopedia Astronautica. Archived from the original on 29 March 2010. Retrieved 26 March 2010.
  4. ^ a b "Lockheed Martin and ATK Announce 2nd Generation Athena Launch Vehicles". Lockheed Martin. 25 March 2010. Archived from the original on 28 March 2010. Retrieved 26 March 2010.
  5. ^ Krebs, Gunter. "Athena (LLV / LMLV)". Gunter's Space Page. Archived from the original on 13 February 2010. Retrieved 26 March 2010.
  6. ^ Wade, Mark. "OAM". Encyclopedia Astronautica. Archived from the original on 1 April 2010. Retrieved 26 March 2010.
  7. ^ Scully, Janene (26 March 2010). "Firms team to revive Athena rocket". Lompoc Record. Retrieved 26 March 2010.
  8. ^ "Athena I Kodiak Star Launch". NASA. 10 September 2001. Archived from the original on 27 May 2010. Retrieved 26 March 2010.
  9. ^ McDowell, Jonathan. "Launch Log". Jonathan's Space Page. Archived from the original on 7 May 2010. Retrieved 26 March 2010.