McLEAN, Va., July 6, 2006 - International Launch Services (ILS) has scheduled its next Proton mission for Aug. 5 from Baikonur, Kazakhstan (Aug. 4 GMT) with the launch of the HOT BIRD 8 satellite for Eutelsat. Following that, ILS plans two additional Proton Breeze M missions in 2006, based upon customers' satellite delivery schedules.
The HOT BIRD 8 satellite arrived in Baikonur this morning. Weighing 4.9 tons and equipped with 64 Ku-band transponders for television and radio broadcasting, HOT BIRD 8 will be the largest satellite yet orbited by Eutelsat.
This is ILS' second Proton mission of the year and fourth launch overall for 2006. ILS suspended missions with the Breeze M upper stage after a Feb. 28 launch failed to place the Arabsat 4A satellite into the correct orbit. ILS is ready to return to flight with its Proton M/Breeze M vehicle now that a Russian State Commission and an independent review panel have concluded their inquiries into that failure.
"As we start the launch campaign, we acknowledge the confidence of our long-standing customer Eutelsat in the Proton M/Breeze M vehicle," said ILS President Mark Albrecht.
"The Proton M launch vehicle has a 100 percent success rate, and the reliability of the Breeze M upper stage remains one of the highest in the industry," Albrecht said. "With the arrival of the satellite, all the flight hardware is in place to start operations."
ILS is a joint venture of Lockheed Martin Corp. (NYSE: LMT) and Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Center of Russia. Based in McLean, Va., ILS markets commercial launch missions on the Lockheed Martin Atlas and the Khrunichev-built Proton vehicles to satellite operators worldwide.