McLEAN, Va., Jan. 22, 2001 - International Launch Services (ILS) and Societe Europienne des Satellites (SES) of Luxembourg have contracted for the launch this year of two satellites on ILS' Proton rocket.
The satellites, ASTRA 2C and ASTRA 1K, are scheduled for launch in June and December, respectively, from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. These will be the fifth and sixth SES satellites to be launched by ILS.
"SES's choice of Proton for both these missions underscores the flexibility, the reliability and the capability of this vehicle," said ILS President Mark Albrecht. "It has the performance capability to lift large satellites like ASTRA 1K. It has the flexibility to support the Astra 2C mission schedule demands. And Proton had a flawless record in 2000, with 14 successful missions for ILS and the Russian government combined."
ASTRA 2C will be the 12th satellite in SES' fleet. It will provide digital services across Europe in Ku-band. It is a Boeing 601 HP model weighing approximately 3,700 kilograms at launch. ASTRA 1K, built by Alcatel Space, will provide Ka- and Ku-band services. It is the heaviest satellite built in Europe to date, at more than 5,200 kilograms.
The relationship between ILS and SES goes back five years, to Proton's first commercial launch of a Western-built satellite, ASTRA 1F. Since then there have been three additional launches, all of them successful.
SES operates ASTRA, Europe's leading direct-to-home satellite system. With 11 satellites, ASTRA transmits more than 1,000 television and radio channels as well as multimedia and Internet services to an audience of more than 80 million homes in Europe. Through strategic investments in AsiaSat, NSAB in Sweden and Star One in Brazil, SES will be able to interconnect satellites in Europe, Asia/Pacific and Latin America to offer broadband services spanning four continents.
ILS, a joint venture of Lockheed Martin Commercial Launch Services and Lockheed Khrunichev Energia International, is the leading launch services provider to customers worldwide using both the American Atlas and the Russian Proton rockets. Last year ILS rockets carried out a record-setting 14 successful missions, six on Proton and eight on Atlas.
The three-stage Proton is produced by Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Center at its factory near Moscow. The fourth stage is built by RSC Energia, also near Moscow. ILS, established in 1995, provides mission management for the Proton launch. ILS is headquartered in McLean, Va.