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ATLAS E LAUNCHES WEATHER SATELLITE FROM WEST COAST

 VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif., Aug. 9 /PRNewswire/ -- A U.S. Air Force Atlas rocket successfully launched a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) satellite here this morning, according to General Dynamics (NYSE: GD). It was the 23rd consecutive success for the U.S. Air Force/General Dynamics Atlas E launch team at Vandenberg AFB.
 "Atlas E continues to demonstrate the reliability that has been the hallmark of the vehicle ever since it first became operational as an ICBM in 1959," said Michael W. Wynne, General Dynamics Space Systems president. "Atlas E has proved to be a cost-effective workhorse for the U.S. space program."
 Atlas 34E was originally built and delivered to the Air Force as an intercontinental ballistic missile in 1961. It was decommissioned in 1965 and stored at Norton AFB until 1985. In 1986 it was delivered to Vandenberg where General Dynamics refurbished it for its present mission.
 The satellite launched by Atlas 34E, NOAA-I, will provide data for weather forecasting and environmental monitoring. The last 23 Atlas missions from Vandenberg have included six for NOAA, six for the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program, four for Navstar Global Positioning System, two other scientific missions and five classified flights on Atlas H.
 Now in its fourth decade, Atlas has grown to a family of four launch vehicles capable of launching payloads from 4,000 to 8,000 pounds with its Centaur upper stage. General Dynamics has three remaining Atlas Es to launch at Vandenberg as well as 30 launch commitments from military and commercial customers for future Atlas launches from Cape Canaveral.
 Under contract to the U.S. Air Force, General Dynamics will soon begin refurbishing Space Launch Complex 3 East to accommodate the Atlas/Centaur vehicle at Vandenberg. The complex is expected to become operational by 1996.
 "The SLC-3 East modification solidifies our presence at Vandenberg well into the future," said Wynne. "It will give us the capability of providing polar orbit options for USAF, NASA and other customers."
 -0- 8/9/93
 /CONTACT: Julie C. Andrews of General Dynamics, 619-974-3600 or 805-735-8311/
 (GD)


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

WB-MP -- NY022 -- 0670 08/09/93 10:14 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Aug 9, 1993
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