BAIKONUR COSMODROME, Kazakhstan, June 7, 2003 — A Proton rocket successfully placed the AMC-9 satellite into orbit this morning for Alcatel Space and SES AMERICOM. The launch was conducted by the U.S.-Russian joint venture International Launch Services (ILS).
This marks the 300th flight of a Proton vehicle, including 38 years of Russian federal missions and seven years with commercial flights under the auspices of ILS. Today's mission was the first Proton rocket launch of the year for ILS.
The vehicle used today was Proton vehicle with a Breeze M upper stage, which lifted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome at 4:15 a.m. local time (22:15 June 6 GMT, 6:15 p.m. June 6 EDT). After 8 hours and 55 minutes, the AMC-9 satellite was separated from the Breeze M and placed into geostationary transfer orbit. Satellite builder Alcatel Space of Cannes, France, contracted for the launch as a delivery-in-orbit mission.
"Once again, Proton demonstrated that it is one of the most reliable vehicles in the world," ILS President Mark Albrecht said. "It's a pleasure to provide both Alcatel Space and SES AMERICOM with another excellent launch."
"I am delighted about the launch of AMC-9, a satellite that is important to our plans for growth of the AMC fleet," said Dean Olmstead, president and CEO of SES AMERICOM. "I extend warm congratulations to the entire team on the occasion of this picture-perfect launch and achieving the great 300th Proton mission milestone."
This also was ILS' 14th launch of a satellite for a member of the SES GLOBAL family of companies – SES AMERICOM and its predecessor GE AMERICOM, SES ASTRA and AsiaSat. In addition, ILS is scheduled to launch three more AMC satellites on either Proton or Atlas rockets in the 2003-04 time frame, and has recently acquired a fourth, not yet identified AMC mission.
This also is the eighth Alcatel Space-built satellite launched by ILS. AMC-9 is a Spacebus 3000B3 model with 48 transponders. It will enable SES AMERICOM, an SES GLOBAL company, to expand its digital television broadcasting, data transmission and telecommunication service offerings to North America.
ILS is a joint venture of Lockheed Martin Corp. (NYSE:LMT) in the United States, which builds the Atlas rocket; and Russian companies Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Center and RSC Energia. Khrunichev produces the Proton vehicles and the Breeze M upper stage.
ILS was formed in 1995 to provide launch services to customers worldwide, including technical, management and marketing expertise. It offers the broadest range of launch services in the world along with the highest reliability in the industry.