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MARTIN MARIETTA UPPER STAGE LAUNCHED PAYLOAD FROM SHUTTLE

 DENVER, Sept. 13 /PRNewswire/ -- A Martin Marietta-built Transfer Orbit Stage (TOS) boosted NASA's Advanced Communications Technology Satellite (ACTS) from Space Shuttle Discovery following its Sunday morning launch from Kennedy Space Center, Florida.
 This was the second mission for the Denver-built TOS, and the first time it has flown on a space shuttle. The first TOS was used in September 1992 when it boosted NASA's Mars Observer on its way to the Red Planet after launch on a Titan III rocket. Martin Marietta builds the TOS for Orbital Sciences Corp., Dulles, Va.
 Nine hours after the 5:45 a.m. MDT launch, ACTS/TOS was gently nudged out of Discovery's payload bay. The satellite and TOS upper stage coasted for 45 minutes while the shuttle maneuvered to a safe distance, 11.7 miles away. Once the TOS positioned the satellite in the proper attitude, the TOS solid rocket motor fired for 110 seconds, accelerating to the 22,800-mph velocity necessary to boost the satellite into its orbit, 21,519 miles above the Earth. Later, thrusters and a solid rocket motor on the satellite will fire to position the satellite into its final orbit 22,300 miles high.
 The ACTS satellite boosted into orbit by the TOS will serve as an orbiting testbed that will demonstrate a variety of advanced satellite communications technology, which, according to NASA, will keep the United States competitive in the world marketplace into the next century.
 "We are proud to once again have a major role in a NASA mission, a heritage which goes back to NASA's Gemini, Viking and Voyager programs and continues today," James W. McAnally, president of Martin Marietta Astronautics, said.
 The shuttle mission was the first combined mission for Martin Marietta's new Space Group which was formed following the merger with GE Aerospace this year. Besides Astronautics' role building the TOS, Martin Marietta Astro Space, East Windsor, N.J., built the ACTS satellite, and Martin Marietta Manned Space Systems, New Orleans, built the shuttle's External Tank.
 Martin Marietta Astronautics is one of three operating elements of Martin Marietta's Space Group headquartered in Bethesda, Md. Astronautics designs, develops, tests and manufactures a variety of advanced technology systems for space and defense. Chief products include space systems, space launch systems and ground systems.
 -0- 9/13/93
 /CONTACT: Sharon Linhart of Martin Marietta Astronautics, 303-977-5364/


CO: Martin Marietta Astronautics ST: Colorado, Florida IN: ARO SU:

BB -- DV005 -- 1357 09/13/93 13:47 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Sep 13, 1993
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