Press Release

ILS Announces 9 New Proton Missions in First Half of 2009

By SpaceRef Editor
June 15, 2009
Filed under , ,
ILS Announces 9 New Proton Missions in First Half of 2009

6 New Orders and 3 Mission Assignments; Customers Move to ILS Proton

LE BOURGET, France–(ILS International Launch Services, Inc. (ILS), a world leader in providing Proton launch services to the global commercial satellite industry, has secured six firm launch orders and three mission assignments in the first half of 2009. ILS has also witnessed a significant trend where customers have moved from other launch providers to ILS Proton in order to meet their critical business requirements.

“The six new orders we have received over the past six months are from repeat as well as new customers. Our longtime customers have come to expect the real value that ILS delivers; our new customers have put their trust and confidence in ILS Proton to support and protect their business plan.” said ILS President Frank McKenna.

“ILS, with the solid backing of Khrunichev, is uniquely positioned, to provide unmatched schedule assurance in an increasingly competitive global environment. With the consolidation of key Proton suppliers under Khrunichev, hardware production is at its highest level. This translates to schedule certainty. Launching a satellite within a customer’s required timeframe is invaluable–the future of their business often depends on that assurance,” McKenna said.

ILS has exclusive rights to market the Proton launch services to global commercial satellite operators. Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Center of Moscow, one of the cornerstones of the Russian space industry, manufactures the Proton and is the majority owner of ILS.

The new business for ILS includes the following, resulting in a total ILS backlog of 24 firm missions worth over 2 billion dollars:

* SkyTerra 2, SkyTerra exercised the option to launch a second mission with ILS Proton to protect and preserve the future of their business with an on-track launch in 2010; Proton will launch the entire next generation SkyTerra system;

* ViaSat-1, ILS Proton provided the best value solution for ViaSat. ViaSat-1 was previously manifested with ArianeSpace and will launch with ILS Proton in 2011;

* Three firm missions for Intelsat, the largest satellite operator in the world, including Intelsat 16, a mission that was previously scheduled with Sea Launch/Land Launch;

* AsiaSat-5, allowing AsiaSat to meet critical schedule requirements to replace AsiaSat 2 in August of this year, where launch provider Sea Launch/Land Launch could not;

* OS-1, the first satellite in the SES Orbital block buy. ILS Proton was selected to fulfill SES’s in service schedule requirements, which could not be guaranteed by Sea Launch/Land Launch. The OS-1 satellite is included with two other assignments for ILS this year from the Multi Launch agreement.

A significant milestone was marked by ILS with the first mission of 2009–the 50th ILS Proton launch with the W2A satellite for longtime customer Eutelsat of France. Prior to that mission, Proton lofted the Federal Dual Express satellites directly into geostationary orbit, demonstrating the enhanced performance of Proton, lifting a total mass of over 6 metric tons. Last month, the launch of Indostar II/Protostar II, for new customer Protostar of Bermuda, supported the next generation of television services across Asia. The schedule for the remainder of the year includes 4-5 additional commercial missions and two Federal missions for a combined total of up to 11 Proton launches in 2009.

ILS also announces the opening of the ILS Europe office, located in Toulouse, France. “The office was established with a customer focus in mind: to enhance our level of service and availability across Europe. This new office will allow ILS to develop and build upon the strong relationships we have with our European partners. We look forward to the opportunities this new office brings,” said McKenna.

The remainder of the year for ILS and Khrunichev includes a robust manifest of commercial launches and Federal missions, resulting in about a launch a month for 2009. “At ILS, our bottom line is meeting the needs and requirements of our customers with outstanding quality. The ILS team is a dedicated and talented group of professionals that thrive on making our customers successful. And each mission is treated with the same level of dedication; it is an honor to be entrusted to fulfill our customer’s business plans with an ILS Proton launch,” McKenna said.

About ILS and Khrunichev

ILS is a world leader in providing mission and launch services for global satellite operators. ILS 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 vehicle and is a U.S. company headquartered in Reston, Va., near Washington, D.C. For more information, visit

Khrunichev, which holds the majority interest in ILS, is one of the cornerstones of the Russian space industry. Khrunichev manufactures the Proton system and is developing the Angara launch system. The Proton launches from facilities at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, and has a heritage of over 340 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. For more information, visit


International Launch Services
Karen Monaghan, +1-571-633-7549
Mobile: +1-571-282-5195
Director of Communications

SpaceRef staff editor.