(Corrects name in paragraph 2 to Morelos from Moralos)
By Irene Klotz
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla., Sept 12 Lockheed Martin
Corp has won a rare commercial contract for launch
services on its unmanned Atlas 5 rocket, officials said on
The customer is the government of Mexico, which will pay
Lockheed Martin Commercial Launch Services an undisclosed amount
to fly its Morelos 3 communications satellite in 2015.
"I'm sure it was a very competitive offer," said Lockheed
Martin spokeswoman Joan Underwood.
The company also has commercial contracts with DigitalGlobe
Inc for two Atlas 5 launches to fly its WorldView 3 and
The last commercial Atlas launch was for Intelsat Corp
in November 2009, Underwood said.
The primary customer for Atlas 5, as well as Delta 4
rockets, is the U.S. military. Both boosters are manufactured by
United Launch Alliance, a partnership of Lockheed Martin and
Until privately owned Space Exploration Technologies began
selling commercial launches on its Falcon boosters, satellite
owners and operators took most of their business to Europe,
Russia and other countries.
The California-based firm, known as SpaceX, has a contract
with NASA to fly cargo to the International Space Station, as
well as a backlog of more than 40 other Falcon rocket flights on
its manifest for commercial customers and foreign governments.
SpaceX is working to break United Launch Alliance's virtual
monopoly on flying military satellites as well.
Lockheed Martin, meanwhile, sees a growing future in the
commercial launch world.
(Editing by Kevin Gray and Stephen Coates)