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CALIFORNIA | BRIEFLY: AEROSPACE

Lockheed to Name Astrolink Investors

May 06, 1999| Times Wire Services

Lockheed Martin Corp. will name the other investors in its Astrolink venture today, a source familiar with the company's plans said. Astrolink, like competitors Teledesic and Hughes Electronics Corp.'s Spaceway project, plans to use satellites for linking computer networks and for high-speed Internet access. The investors are expected to be both foreign and domestic companies, the source said. The cost of the Astrolink project, handled by Lockheed Martin's Global Telecommunications unit, is expected to be about $4 billion. Lockheed Martin is hoping to capitalize on rising demand for faster-speed, or broadband, data-transmission technologies.

Meanwhile, Lockheed Martin will turn to a panel of experts to figure out why four launches have failed in the last eight months, destroying rockets and satellites. The panel of 10 to 12 experts will conduct a thorough review of the company and report its findings by Sept. 1. Most of the panel members will be selected from outside the company, spokesman James Fetig said. The Bethesda, Md.-based company experienced two failed launches just last week. On April 27, a Lockheed Martin-made Ikonos I satellite being launched for a private company owned by Lockheed Martin and Raytheon Corp. failed to reach its proper orbit. On Friday, a $433-million Titan IV rocket also failed to lift an $800-million military satellite into the proper orbit. Lockheed Martin shares rose 44 cents to close at $44.13 on the NYSE.

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