Athena

In 1993 the Lockheed Company decided to apply its expertise in solid-propellants -gained from the Polaris, Poseidon and Trident missiles - to develop the Lockheed Launch Vehicle (LLV) to place small satellites into low orbit, or into geosynchronous transfer orbit.51 When the company merged with Martin Marietta in 1995 this became the Lockheed Martin Launch Vehicle (LMLV). Following the first successful flight, the programme was renamed Athena. The Athena I was a two-stage vehicle capable of inserting 800 kilograms into low orbit. Its first stage was a Castor 120 (which had been derived by Thiokol from the motors of the Trident and Peacekeeper missiles) and its second stage was an Orbus 12D supplied by United Technologies. The Athena II would have two Castor 120 stages in tandem and a payload of 1,975 kilograms. An Athena III would have strap-on solids to further increase the capacity to 3,600 kilograms. In each case, the payload was to be manoeuvred into the desired orbit by the hydrazine-burning Orbit Adjust Module that had been developed by Primex Technologies.52

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