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Satellite 2014 Hosted Payload Forum: Developing Markets, Developing Opportunities for Hosted Payloads

March 10, 2014
John Palme

On 10 March in Washington, DC, International Launch Services (ILS) Vice President and Chief Technical Officer John Palmé participated in the Hosted Payload Forum during Satellite 2014 along with other executives from the commercial satellite industry. The panel was moderated by NewSat Senior Vice President of Strategic Planning, Don Brown.

Below is a summary of Palmé’s message:

Recent Accomplishments
Proton has launched 394 times since its first flight in 1965; 85 of these launches have been ILS missions. Proton is positioned to launch its 400th mission this year. This launch pace is in part due to the vehicle’s series of evolutionary improvements, which have increased performance by 25 percent since its introduction in the commercial market over 20 years ago. With a robust factory throughput and launch pace of 10 Protons per year on average, last year Proton launched more than Ariane 5, Falcon 9, Sea Launch, and Land Launch combined.

Proton Flexibility

ILS and Khrunichev implemented a Second Spacecraft Processing Facility in 2011. The facility allows for overlapping campaigns and reduces spans between launches to roughly 18-21 days. It also enables ILS to more efficiently launch spacecraft as they come out of the factory. Proton has launched all major commercial spacecraft buses, and with the flexibility to launch various types of missions, ILS and Khrunichev are able to integrate and launch spacecraft in accordance with customer requirements. 

Proton’s Unique Value Proposition
By contracting a Proton launch service, the customer is able to receive a dedicated launch which offers a clear manifest position without the constraint of waiting for a companion payload.  In addition, as the full performance of the vehicle is reserved for one spacecraft, a change in the design of a spacecraft or payload can be accommodated within the launch contract.  ILS Proton offers reduced risk to both schedule and cost which supports the business plan of both the operator and the payload customer as well.

No Barriers to Launching a Hosted Payload on Proton

From a security standpoint, all ILS launch campaign security plans are approved by the US DoD (DTSA), as required by license. No additional security has been required for launching hosted payload or dual-use spacecraft.

In terms of licensing – ILS has received licenses for manifesting missions that include hosted payloads without any issues. ILS has never had an issue receiving licenses for missions. ILS does not foresee any future issues that may affect licensing at this time.

There are no barriers to launching a hosted payload on Proton.  The US Government has been more than satisfied with the performance of ILS over the last 20+ years.

Hosted and Dual-Use Satellites Launched by ILS Proton (excludes federal missions)

  • Anik F1R with WAAS for FAA - September 2005
  • Intelsat 22 with UHF payload for Australian Defence Force – March 2012
  • Yahsat 1B Ka-band for UAE Armed Forces – April 2012
  • SES 5 with EGNOS FOR ESA – June 2012
  • Anik G1 with X-band for Paradigm – April 2013
  • Global Xpress™ for Inmarsat with mobile Ka-band – December 2013
  • Turksat 4A with X-band to serve the Turkish government – February 2014
  • Upcoming – Mexsat-1 with an L-band to serve the Mexican government


John Palme

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