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McDonnell Wins Contract to Launch NATO Satellite

Times Staff Writer

In another boost to its commercial rocket business, McDonnell Douglas Astronautics Co. in Huntington Beach has received a contract to build and launch a communications satellite for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization aboard a McDonnell Douglas Delta II rocket.

The launch is the seventh commercial contract McDonnell Douglas has received for the medium-range, three-stage launch vehicle since August, 1987. The NATO launch is scheduled for the fourth quarter of 1990 from Cape Canaveral, Fla.

McDonnell Douglas did not disclose terms of the order. But the company previously has said that commercial Delta II launches cost about $50 million.

“We feel quite good about (the NATO contract),” company spokesman Tom Williams said. “We’re off to a good start in the commercial launch business.”

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After a 2 1/2-year shutdown, McDonnell Douglas reopened its Delta production line in January, 1987, after receiving an Air Force contract to build up to 20 Deltas for launching navigation satellites.

McDonnell Douglas’ first Delta II launch of an Air Force navigation satellite is scheduled for the fourth quarter of 1988. The first Delta launch for a commercial customer is scheduled for the spring of 1989, when the government of India plans to use the rocket to launch a satellite.

The Deltas are designed and partially constructed in Huntington Beach and assembled at a McDonnell Douglas plant in Pueblo, Colo.


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