Lockheed Martin Commercial Launch Services is planning to sell its interest in the US-Russian joint venture Lockheed Khrunichev Energia International (LKEI) International Launch Services (ILS) to Space Transport, a new British Virgin Islands-registered company, by the end of the year.

A market analysis saw Lockheed decide to abandon its relationship with the Russian launcher and launch providers. LKEI operates under the ILS brand. While ILS will no longer have access to Lockheed's Atlas vehicles, the US company will continue to use the US/Russian RD-180 engine. Lockheed says the decison to sell was not related to any decision or action of its Russian partners or their government, and that the move is unrelated to the US government's deliberations over the new Boeing-Lockheed joint venture, United Launch Alliance, which will provide launch services to the US Department of Defense.

Lockheed will continue to offer Atlas launch services commercially as well as to the US government.

Source: Flight International