- Press Release
- August 19, 2022
ILS Celebrates Another Year With 100% Launch Success – New Orders Include 1st Flight of Atlas V
International Launch Services (ILS) wraps up
2001 with total success in its six Atlas and Proton launches, and new orders
that include the inaugural flight of the Atlas V vehicle next year.
The four Atlas launches consisted of communications and weather satellites,
and the two Proton flights carried communications satellites. Proton also
conducted four successful missions in 2001 for the Russian government, the
most recent of which was Dec. 1. Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company
manufactures the Atlas rocket. The Proton is provided by Khrunichev State
Research and Production Space Center and RSC Energia of Russia. ILS is a
joint venture of Lockheed Martin, Khrunichev and Energia.
“At ILS, we never waver in our commitment to Mission Success,” said
President Mark Albrecht. “That’s why our customers trust their businesses to
us, and return to us for additional launches. With Atlas and Proton, they’re
getting the highest reliability in the industry as well as mutual backup to
assure they can launch on schedule.” Over the last 24 months, Atlas and
Proton together have flown 32 times – “an incredible launch tempo,” Albrecht
Most of the 12 orders ILS announced this year were for repeat customers.
This includes the launch of EUTELSAT’s Hot Bird 6 on the first flight of
Atlas V, scheduled for next May.
“Once again EUTELSAT demonstrated its confidence in ILS and the Atlas
family, by signing up to be the customer for the first launch of an Atlas
variant,” Albrecht said. “Our long and mutually successful relationship goes
back to the beginning of the Atlas commercial space program, when EUTELSAT
was our first commercial customer and flew on the first Atlas II.” A
EUTELSAT satellite also was the first passenger for Atlas III, which made
its debut in 2000.
“This continues the Atlas tradition of always carrying a commercial customer
on a first flight,” Albrecht said. “Atlas has an enviable record of 58
consecutive successful launches.”
ILS received three other Atlas V orders in 2001, as well as two for Atlas
III and one for Atlas IIAS, all from commercial customers. It also announced
five commercial missions for Proton. Proton has attained 20 consecutive
successful launches including its Russian federal missions; overall Proton’s
record is 96 percent over more than 280 flights. The ILS backlog stands at
nearly $3 billion for launches through 2004. This follows a record-setting
year in 2000, with 14 ILS launches, all successful, and $1 billion in new
commercial business signed.
The Atlas V family is Lockheed Martin’s next-generation launch vehicle,
designed to lift payloads up to nearly 8700 kg to geosynchronous transfer
orbit (GTO). It was developed both for ILS commercial missions and to meet
the U.S. Air Force requirements for the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle
The Atlas V incorporates state-of-the-art designs, materials and processes,
including the throttleable, Russian-built RD-180 engine, the first
variable-thrust main engine to power a U.S. expendable launch vehicle. The
RD-180 and most of the other technologies for Atlas V were flight-proven in
2000, during ILS’ successful inaugural launch of Atlas III. The RD-180
recently completed more than 27,500 seconds of test firing time, equivalent
to the duration of more than 130 nominal Atlas V missions.
In preparation for the first launch, the Atlas V vehicle recently completed
a “booster on stand” operation, which involved assembling the rocket’s
booster stage, Centaur upper stage and connecting segments in the new
vertical integration facility at Cape Canaveral, Fla. This milestone caps a
period of sustained test and validation activity associated with the vehicle
and the ground infrastructure at the launch complex.
The Proton vehicle also marked a milestone in 2001 with the first launch of
its Proton M version, featuring more powerful engines, structural
enhancements to support the increased lift capability and a state-of-the-art
digital guidance system. This flight also used the upgraded Breeze M upper
stage to place a Russian government satellite in orbit on April 7. Together
the components provide enhanced performance, greater payload volume and
increased mission design flexibility.
ILS was formed in 1995 to provide launch services on the American Atlas and
the Russian Proton vehicles to customers worldwide. ILS offers the broadest
range of launch services in the world along with products with the highest
reliability in the industry. ILS’ Atlas rockets and their Centaur upper
stages are built by Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company-Astronautics
Operations at facilities in Denver; Harlingen, Texas; and San Diego, Calif.
The three-stage Proton and the Breeze M upper stage are produced by
Khrunichev at its factory near Moscow. The alternative Block DM upper stage
is built by Energia, also near Moscow.