SAN DIEGO, June 13, 1996 - Societe Europeenne des Satellites (SES) has confirmed that a Proton rocket will launch its ASTRA 1G broadcast satellite in the second quarter of 1997, International Launch Services (ILS) announced today.
The selection of Proton for launch of ASTRA 1G follows the successful launch of ASTRA 1F on April 9, the first commercial Proton launch under the auspices of ILS and the first launch of a U.S.-built satellite from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
"SES made space history in April by becoming the first western company to launch on the Russian Proton," said Charles H. Lloyd, president - Proton Division, ILS. "We are pleased that SES' dual-launch strategy includes ongoing business with ILS and Proton."
ASTRA 1G will be SES' seventh satellite to be copositioned at 19.2 deg East, adding 16 ransponders for digital transmissions at that location. SES, a Luxembourg-based company, is a prime provider of direct-to-home television and radio services to Europe through its ASTRA system. The satellite is a HS 601 model built by Hughes Space and Communications Company based in Los Angeles, CA.
ILS is a joint venture company established in 1995 to jointly market Proton and the Lockheed Martin Astronautics-built Atlas to the worldwide satellite launch market. ILS is owned by Lockheed Martin Corporation's Commercial Launch Services Company and the company's LKEI joint venture with Khrunichev and RSC Energia in Russia. Proton is built by Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Center in Moscow.
ILS, through its LKEI affiliate, presently holds five commercial Proton launch contracts for a total backlog of 16 launch commitments. The combined ILS Proton and Atlas backlog is in excess of $2.5 billion.