ILS Proton launches Intelsat 31 satellite in Kazakhstan

June 10, 2016
RESTON, Va.10 June 2016. Intelsat S.A., operator of a Globalized Network powered by its satellite backbone in Luxembourg, and International Launch Services (ILS) in Reston, Virginia, partnered to launch the Intelsat 31 satellite using an ILS Proton Breeze M space launch vehicle from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan today.

RESTON, Va., 10 June 2016. Intelsat S.A., operator of a Globalized Network powered by its satellite backbone in Luxembourg, and International Launch Services (ILS) in Reston, Virginia, partnered to launch the Intelsat 31 satellite using an ILS Proton Breeze M space launch vehicle from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan today.

The Proton Breeze M launch vehicle, using a 5-burn Breeze M Supersynchronous Transfer Orbit (SSTO) mission design, lifted off from Pad 24 at 13:10 local time (3:10 ET/7:10 GMT) from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, with the Intelsat 31 satellite on board.

The first three stages of the Proton used a standard ascent profile to place the orbital unit (Breeze M upper stage and the Intelsat 31 satellite) into a sub-orbital trajectory. From this point in the mission, the Breeze M performed planned mission maneuvers to insert the orbital unit first to a circular parking orbit, then to intermediate and transfer orbits, and finally to a Supersynchronous Transfer Orbit where the Intelsat 31 was separated after a 15-hour, 31-minute mission.

SSTO missions provide increased heavy-lift performance over GTO mission designs, allowing ILS’ customers the capability to maximize spacecraft operational lifetime, officials explain.

Built for Intelsat by Space Systems Loral (SSL), Intelsat 31 is a 20-kilowatt class Ku-and C-band satellite. The Ku-band payload, known as DLA-2, is designed to provide redundancy for DIRECTV Latin America’s distribution services in South America and the Caribbean in a reflection of the company’s commitment to providing their subscribers with the highest reliability in the region. The C-band portion enhances Intelsat’s existing C-band service infrastructure serving Latin America.

“A launch is always a culmination of years of hard work and dedication that begin with the design and manufacture of the satellite up to its delivery to orbit. We appreciate all of the teams who worked with us to make this program another success, including ILS and Khrunichev for ensuring a successful launch,” says Intelsat Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer Thierry Guillemin.

ILS President Kirk Pysher adds: “Our partnership with Intelsat spans 18 years with 12 of their satellites launched to date by Proton with the launch of Intelsat 31. We look forward to extending our partnership further with more launches over the coming years under our Multi Launch Agreement with Intelsat. Each and every team member should be commended for their contributions to the success of the Intelsat 31 mission.”

The Proton Breeze M vehicle is built by Khrunichev State Research and Space Production Center (Khrunichev) of Moscow, majority owner of ILS. Proton has a heritage of 412 missions since its maiden flight in 1965. This was the third Proton launch this year and the 12th for Intelsat on ILS Proton.

ILS provides launch services for global satellite operators and offers a complete array of services and support, from contract signing through mission management and on-orbit delivery. ILS has exclusive rights to market the Proton and Angara vehicles to commercial satellite operators worldwide and is a U.S. company headquartered in Reston, VA., near Washington, D.C. To date, ILS has launched 93 commercial missions.

Khrunichev, which holds the majority interest in ILS, is one of the cornerstones of the Russian space industry. Khrunichev manufactures the Proton system and the Angara family of vehicles. The Proton vehicle launches from facilities at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, and has a heritage of more than 410 missions since 1965. Khrunichev includes, among its branches, a number of key manufacturers of launch vehicle and spacecraft components in Moscow and in other cities of the Russian Federation.

Intelsat S.A. (NYSE:I) operates the world’s first Globalized Network, delivering high-quality, cost-effective video and broadband services anywhere in the world. Intelsat’s Globalized Network combines the world’s largest satellite backbone with terrestrial infrastructure and managed services to enable customers to drive revenue and reach through a new generation of network services. Thousands of organizations serving billions of people worldwide rely on the Intelsat Globalized Network to provide ubiquitous broadband connectivity, multi-format video broadcasting, secure satellite communications and seamless mobility services. The end result is an entirely new world, one that allows us to envision the impossible, connect without boundaries, and transform the ways in which we live.

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