McLEAN, Va., June 11, 2002 -- International Launch Services (ILS) has signed an agreement with Space Systems/Loral (SS/L) for launch of a satellite that will provide services to mobile users in Japan and South Korea.
The satellite, MBSAT, is set for launch in the fourth quarter of next year on a Lockheed Martin Atlas III vehicle from Cape Canaveral, Fla. The Atlas is one of three families of rockets offered by ILS, which is a joint venture of Lockheed Martin Corp. (NYSE:LMT) and two Russian companies, Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Center and RSC Energia of Moscow. ILS was formed to market and manage the missions for the Atlas and the Russian Proton and Angara vehicles.
SS/L is building the satellite for Mobile Broadcasting Corp. (MBC) of Japan, which has announced plans to deliver such multimedia services as audio, video and data to mobile users in Japan. Similar services are planned in South Korea using the same satellite.
"I'm pleased to be announcing another launch for Space Systems/Loral, within weeks of successfully putting the Loral-built DIRECTV-5 satellite in orbit," said ILS President Mark Albrecht. "In fact, we're in the midst of launching three Loral satellites in a row on our Proton vehicle and last year we launched a Loral satellite on Atlas. We welcome Loral to either of our launch sites any time."
The MBSAT spacecraft is a version of SS/L's space-proven three-axis, body-stabilized, 1300 bus, as are the three SS/L satellites that ILS is launching this year. "With last month's launch of DIRECTV-5, ILS' two vehicles have put a total of 29 Loral spacecraft into orbit, all successfully, and we expect another Mission Success next year with MBSAT," Albrecht said.
The Atlas III is part of the next generation of launch vehicles being offered by ILS, based in McLean, Va. The Atlas III is a planned progression from the 100-percent-successful Atlas II series. It also proved out technologies that are used on the Atlas V, which Lockheed Martin developed for both commercial missions and the U.S. Air Force's Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) program. Two Atlas III vehicles have flown, both successfully, and the Atlas V is scheduled to begin launching in July.
The Atlas III builds upon the pressure-stabilized booster design of the Atlas II, but uses the Russian RD-180 main engine with variable thrust control. This engine is evolved from the flight-proven RD-170 engine built by NPO Energomash. The Atlas V also uses the RD-180, with a structurally stabilized Common Core Boosterï¿½. Up to five solid rocket boosters can be strapped on for additional lift capability. All Atlas vehicles use a Centaur upper stage, with one or two Pratt & Whitney RL-10 engines.
ILS' Atlas rockets and their Centaur upper stages are built by Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company-Astronautics Operations at facilities in Denver, Colo.; Harlingen, Texas; and San Diego, Calif. The three-stage Proton and the Breeze M upper stage are assembled by Khrunichev at its plant near Moscow. The alternative Block DM upper stage is built by Energia, also near Moscow.
Space Systems/Loral is a premier designer, manufacturer and integrator of powerful satellites and satellite systems. SS/L also provides a range of related services, including mission control operations and procurement of launch services. Based in Palo Alto, Calif., the company has an international base of commercial and governmental customers whose applications include broadband digital communications, direct-to-home broadcast, defense communications, environmental monitoring, and air traffic control. SS/L is a subsidiary of Loral Space & Communications.
Mobile Broadcasting Corp. was established in Japan to provide cars and mobile terminals with digital satellite broadcasting. MBC's partners include 55 companies, including major shareholders Toshiba, SK Telecom, NTT Data, Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance, Toyota, Fujitsu, Nippon TV and Panasonic. For more information, visit http://www.mbco.co.jp.
ILS offers the broadest range of launch services in the world along with products with the highest reliability in the industry. With two independent, highly reliable vehicles and two dedicated launch sites, ILS pioneered the concept of Mutual Backup, thus assuring satellites will be launched on schedule. ILS' next launch is planned for June with the EchoStar VIII satellite, built by SS/L, on a Proton vehicle.