ILS Proton launch vehicles support EUTELSAT communications satellite missions

Oct. 12, 2016
RESTON, Va., 12 Oct. 2016. International Launch Services (ILS) officials in Reston, Virginia, are announcing two launch missions – using the company’s Proton Breeze M and Proton Medium launch vehicles, commonly referred to as rockets – for satellite operator Eutelsat Communications in Paris.
RESTON, Va., 12 Oct. 2016. International Launch Services (ILS) officials in Reston, Virginia, are announcing two launch missions – using the company’s Proton Breeze M and Proton Medium launch vehicles, commonly referred to as rockets – for satellite operator Eutelsat Communications in Paris.

The new launch missions mark historic firsts for ILS, including: the company’s first commercial shared launch using an ILS Proton Breeze M launch vehicle with the EUTELSAT 5 West B satellite and MEV-1, the first Mission Extension Vehicle (MEV) developed by Orbital ATK, as well as its first commercial contract incorporating the use of the newly announced Proton Medium launch vehicle.

The shared launch on Proton Breeze M will carry the EUTELSAT 5 West B satellite, built on Orbital ATK’s GEOstar satellite platform, with an Airbus Defence and Space-built payload stacked on top of Orbital ATK’s MEV-1 spacecraft for launch in the last quarter of 2018. The second mission is baselined with the Proton Medium launch vehicle with launch to be conducted in the 2019-2020 timeframe. Both missions will be launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

These two missions for Eutelsat are included under the Multi-Launch Agreement (MLA) announced by ILS in October 2015. The MLA was designed to provide Eutelsat with schedule flexibility and assured access to space at cost effective prices over a seven-year period. The first mission launched under the MLA was the Eutelsat 9B satellite on 30 January 2016.

The Proton Medium vehicle was introduced last month, along with the Proton Light vehicle, during World Satellite Business Week in Paris. The vehicles are a product line extension of the commercial Proton Breeze M designed to expand the Proton addressable GEO market with competitive launch solutions in the small and medium satellite class range (3 to 5 metric tons). The vehicles are two-stage versions of the time-tested and flight-proven Proton Breeze M launch system developed for exclusive commercial use by ILS.

“Our agreements with ILS are aligned with our plans for fleet expansion and our commitment to control capital expenditure. We commend Khrunichev for the new expanded line of Proton vehicles that should bring added diversity in more segments of the commercial launch market; we thank ILS and Khrunichev for responding with viable and economical launch solutions,” says Eutelsat CEO Rodolphe Belmer.

“We are honored to announce a Proton Medium mission and our first commercial shared launch on Proton Breeze M with Eutelsat, a loyal customer of ours for over 15 years and 11 Proton launches to date. Under the framework of the MLA agreement, ILS is able to offer access to our complete family of Proton launch vehicles thereby providing Eutelsat with the added value of flexibility and interchangeability to meet their business requirements going forward. We look forward to delivering on our commitments and supporting these important upcoming launches,” adds ILS President Kirk Pysher.

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 markets 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 vehicles (Proton M, Proton Medium and Proton Light) and the Angara family of vehicles. The Proton vehicles launch from facilities at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, and has a heritage of over 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.

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    Courtney E. Howard | Chief Editor, Intelligent Aerospace

    Courtney enjoys writing about all things high-tech in PennWell’s burgeoning Aerospace and Defense Group, which encompasses Intelligent Aerospace and Military & Aerospace Electronics. She’s also a self-proclaimed social-media maven, mil-aero nerd, and avid avionics and space geek. Connect with Courtney at [email protected], @coho on Twitter, on LinkedIn, and on Google+.

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