Press Release

ILS to Launch ASTRA 1KR in 2006 – First Atlas V Launch for SES ASTRA

By SpaceRef Editor
December 21, 2005
Filed under , ,
ILS to Launch ASTRA 1KR in 2006 – First Atlas V Launch for SES ASTRA

International Launch Services, a Lockheed Martin joint venture, has scheduled the launch of the ASTRA 1KR satellite on an Atlas V vehicle for April 2006 from Cape Canaveral, Fla.

This will be the first Atlas mission for SES ASTRA of Luxembourg, which is a longtime customer of International Launch Services (ILS), of McLean, Va. ILS markets launch missions on Lockheed Martin’s Atlas rocket and the Khrunichev-built Proton vehicle to satellite operators worldwide.

The ASTRA 1KR mission results from contractual arrangements signed last year for launches of three satellites for SES GLOBAL companies. The companies agreed to use a mix of Atlas and Proton vehicles to provide flexibility in accommodating satellite readiness and meeting schedule demands.

Under the original agreement SES ASTRA was to launch ASTRA 1L on a Proton vehicle. It subsequently changed the payload to ASTRA 1KR, which like the other satellites covered by the launch agreements are A2100 models built by Lockheed Martin Commercial Space Systems. The ASTRA mission now has been switched to an Atlas V-411 vehicle.

ILS President Mark Albrecht said, “We are pleased that SES ASTRA is joining a long list of successful Atlas customers.” He pointed out that the Atlas family has achieved 100 percent reliability since mid-1993, launching both government and commercial payloads.

Martin Halliwell, SES ASTRA chief technology officer, said: “This is the first time that SES ASTRA chose an Atlas rocket for the launch of a new satellite. Thanks to the great experience that other SES companies have with Atlas and our own long-term relationship with the ILS team, we are confident that the launch of ASTRA 1KR will be successful.”

While this is the first ASTRA satellite to use an Atlas vehicle, SES ASTRA has used ILS Proton vehicles for six launches. In addition, 10 satellites for SES AMERICOM’s fleet have used a mix of Atlas and Proton vehicles. An SES affiliate, AsiaSat, also has used both vehicles, and the launch for another affiliate, SES SIRIUS AB, was awarded to Proton this year.

About ILS

ILS is the global leader in launch services, offering the industry’s two best systems: Atlas and Proton. These vehicles have consistently demonstrated the reliability and flexibility that have made them preferred choice among satellite operators worldwide. ILS was formed in 1995, and is based in McLean, Va., a suburb of Washington, D.C. For more information, please visit

About Lockheed Martin

Headquartered in Bethesda, Md., Lockheed Martin employs about 135,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture and integration of advanced technology systems, products and services. The corporation reported 2004 sales of $35.5 billion. For more information, please visit


The ASTRA Satellite System is the leading direct-to-home (DTH) satellite system in Europe, delivering services to some 103 million direct-to-home and cable households. The ASTRA satellite fleet currently comprises 13 satellites, transmitting more than 1400 analog and digital television and radio channels as well as multimedia and Internet services. ASTRA’s two prime orbital positions for DTH services are 19.2 degrees East and 28.2 degrees East. Professional services such as direct-to cable (DTC), satellite newsgathering (SNG) and occasional use are offered from the orbital position of 23.5 degrees East.

SES ASTRA is an SES GLOBAL company (Euronext Paris and Luxembourg Stock Exchange: SESG). SES GLOBAL wholly owns two market-leading satellite operators, SES ASTRA in Europe, and SES AMERICOM in the United States. The company also holds strategic participations in AsiaSat in Asia, Star One and Nahuelsat in Latin America, and NSAB in Europe. Additional info on SES GLOBAL is at:


International Launch Services, McLean
Fran Slimmer, 571-633-7462
Mobile: 646-229-4801
SES ASTRA, Luxembourg
Markus Payer, + 352-710-725-500

SpaceRef staff editor.