The EchoStar XIX satellite has been encapsulated in its protective launch vehicle fairing. It is scheduled to launch Dec. 18 aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V 431 rocket contracted through Lockheed Martin Commercial Launch Services.
For encapsulation, EchoStar XIX was connected to an adapter and then enclosed in the four-meter fairing or "nose cone." The satellite will now be transported by truck to Space Launch Complex 41 where it will be lifted by crane and mated with the Atlas rocket.
"We've basically buckled the seatbelt over EchoStar XIX," said Steve Skladanek, president of Lockheed Martin Commercial Launch Services. "Now it's time for Atlas to give it a safe and smooth ride to orbit. No vehicle combines the reliability, orbital accuracy and schedule certainty of Atlas. That has real value for commercial customers, and we're grateful that EchoStar has placed its confidence in the world's most reliable rocket."
With an average slip date of less than two weeks and successful track record, the Atlas family of rockets provides the most reliable lift in the commercial market. Atlas also offers such precise delivery into orbit that customers can use the excess fuel to extend the life of a satellite and bringing more value to the mission.