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FIRST GENERAL DYNAMICS ATLAS IIAS READY TO LAUNCH TELSTAR

 SAN DIEGO, Dec. 10 /PRNewswire/ -- The first General Dynamics Atlas IIAS is scheduled for lift off at 7:22 p.m. EST from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on Tuesday, Dec. 14, with the AT&T Telstar 401 satellite aboard. The 57-minute launch window for the mission, designated AC-108, extends to 8:19 p.m.
 Atlas IIAS is the newest and most powerful vehicle in the Atlas family and the first Atlas configuration to incorporate solid-fueled strap-on motors. This will also be the first launch of AT&T's next- generation of Telstar 4 satellites built by Martin Marietta Astro Space. The satellite will provide high-performance C- and Ku-band operations for AT&T's existing and new broadcast and data services users.
 Atlas IIAS carries four Castor IVA solid rocket boosters built by Thiokol, which increase the Atlas payload capability to 7,700 pounds to geosynchronous transfer orbit. Two of the four solid rocket boosters ignite at liftoff, contributing an additional 197,000 pounds of thrust. The second pair fires during flight after the first pair burns out. Total thrust at liftoff is 620,500 pounds.
 The vehicle's Centaur upper stage, also built by GD Space Systems, is identical to the Centaur flown on the Atlas IIA. Upon separation from the Atlas booster, Centaur will carry the spacecraft to a 19,409-nmi geosynchronous transfer orbit.
 This will be the 512th Atlas launch overall, the 88th Centaur launch and the sixth launch this year for Atlas. It follows closely the successful launch in November of Atlas II/DSCS III from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. A second Atlas IIAS/Telstar mission is scheduled for 1996
 Launch services are provided by GD Commercial Launch Services Inc., under contract to AT&T, located in Basking Ridge, N.J. The Atlas and Centaur launch vehicles are built by GD Space Systems Division in San Diego, and Harlingen, Texas. Martin Marietta Astro Space is located in East Windsor, N.J.
 -0- 12/10/93
 /CONTACT: Julie C. Andrews of General Dynamics, 619-974-3600 or 407-784-8183/


CO: General Dynamics ST: California, Florida IN: ARO SU:

JB-EH -- SD001 -- 2655 12/10/93 13:03 EST
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Date:Dec 10, 1993
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