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2013 Asia Pacific Satellite Communications Council (APSCC) Conference

September 24, 2013
Phil Slack

APSCC Launch Panel

The 2013 Asia Pacific Satellite Communications Council (APSCC) conference, held in Hong Kong, was well attended by regional players in the satellite industry. Over a 3 day period the conference agenda included many excellent panels and sessions as well as provided plenty of opportunity for networking.

The launch services roundtable, moderated by Peter Jackson, was an opportunity for launch providers to discuss the industry in relation to the Asia Pacific region specifically.  Phil Slack, President of International Launch Services (ILS), was joined by executives from Arianespace, China Great Wall Industry, Mitsubishi Heavy Industry, Sea Launch and SpaceX.

The following is a summary of Slacks message.

Quality and Reliability

ILS together with Khrunichev has outlined several quality measures that are currently being implemented. The key initiatives include; Khrunichev and Roscosmos audits, a Breeze M reliability study, higher frequency of retraining and recertification of operators and technicians, automation of processes, and the development of regular ILS/Khrunichev customer quality reviews.  ILS has also recently brought in industry veteran, Kirk Pysher, to the position of Vice President of Mission Assurance and Product Development.  His primary responsibility will be to oversee all quality initiatives.  

New Capabilities for Proton

ILS and Khrunichev are continually working on new developments to accommodate changes in technology driven by customers demand for heavier, larger volume satellites, lighter stackable satellites and electric propulsion satellites.

The Phase IV Enhancements

Now in development, Phase IV enhancements will provide 200 kg of additional performance to geosynchronous transfer orbit bringing total payload systems mass capability to 6.35 metric tons. These enhancements will become the standard on the ILS Proton launch vehicle in 2015.

Payload Fairing Upgrades

ILS Proton is completing design work on a 5 meter fairing and will be prepared to execute should the business case be developed to support the implementation.  In parallel ILS Proton is looking at a modification to the current 4 meter fairing that would accommodate most satellite platforms and dual configurations currently being considered. 

Alternative Mission Designs:  Super-synchronous Transfer Orbit (SSTO) Missions and Direct to Geostationary Insertion Missions

By working collaboratively with customers and their manufacturers ILS is able to learn which parameters are of most value to their businesses, and then optimize the mission accordingly. Should it be important for one spacecraft to be put into service before the other, the Proton Breeze M's restartable upper-stage has the capability to optimize the mission to carry one spacecraft closer to its final orbit.  

Addressing the Needs of Satellite Operators in Asia

ILS is ready to respond to an important and growing trend seen in the Asia-pacific region, low cost launches for smaller, lower mass spacecraft, by offering shared launches.  For operators the value proposition of a shared launch is clear: launch costs are roughly cut in half. In addition to the technical improvements which increase performance of the Proton and shared launch opportunities which drive costs down, ILS is also in the process of securing EXIAR financing for customers.

EXIAR Financing

The major benefit to EXIAR is less up-front fees for the ILS customer compared to Coface and ExIm Bank. EXIAR offers a different fee structure for its clients that will be significantly more attractive than other ECAs for some customers.


ILS President Phil Slack

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