Lockheed Martin Commercial Launch Systems (LMCLS) has signed a contract with the Mexican government’s Secretaria de Comunicaciones y Transportas agency for the launch on an Atlas V rocket of the communications satellite Morelos 3 (aka Mexsat 2). The spacecraft which is currently being built by Boeing is likely to be launch in 2015 from the Cape Canaveral launch site, Florida, USA.
While the Atlas V has a good reliability record, surprisingly few commercial satellites have flown on it. According to the Flightglobal/Ascend SpaceTrak database, the Atlas V has only flown eight commercial missions since 2002 with the last being in 2009. This low figure maybe due to cost as the Atlas V is believed to be more expensive to procure commercially than other launch vehicles. There is also the issue of finding a suitable flight slot as most Atlas V launches are committed to orbiting US government payloads as operated by the United Launch Alliance (ULA).
ULA is a joint Lockheed Martin/Boeing consortium that operates Atlas V and Delta IV rockets which were developed by both companies respectively under the US Air Force Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) programme.