RIYADH, Saudi Arabia, Oct. 21, 2003 – The Arab Satellite Communications Organization (ARABSAT) has selected International Launch Services (ILS) of the United States to launch its next two satellites on Proton/Breeze M launch vehicles. Financial details were not disclosed.
EADS Astrium will be the prime contractor for the satellites, ARABSAT 4A and 4B, which are Eurostar 2000+ models. EADS Astrium will oversee the launch activities on behalf of ARABSAT through a delivery-in-orbit contract, EADS Astrium's first contract of this type with ILS. The target launch dates are late 2005 and early 2006.
With the ARABSAT launches, ILS has received orders this year for seven new Proton missions.
ARABSAT Director General Khalid Balkheyour, said, "ILS has demonstrated that it understands what a customer wants, in particular, reliability, on-time service and good cooperation."
"We are pleased that the ARABSAT satellites will be our first launches for the Middle East," said ILS President Mark Albrecht. "We recognize how important it is to a business to ensure that the satellites are in orbit on time, and ILS has proven we can provide that service time and time again."
The Proton is Russia's premier launch vehicle, having flown a total of 300 times with Russian government missions and ILS commercial flights. ILS is a joint venture of Lockheed Martin Corp. (NYSE: LMT) in the United States, which builds the Atlas launch vehicle; and Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Center of Russia, which builds the Proton vehicle. With more than 80 years of combined experience and more than 875 combined flights on the Atlas and Proton launch vehicles, ILS offers rockets with the highest reliability in the industry.
ARABSAT is dedicated to offering a variety of leading-edge commercial satellite services to meet both current and emerging customer demands in the Arab world. With its headquarters in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, ARABSAT was established on April 14, 1976, by the member states of the Arab League.
EADS Astrium is the leading satellite company in Europe. Its activities cover complete civil and military telecommunications and Earth observation systems, science and navigation programs, and all spacecraft avionics and equipment. EADS Astrium is wholly owned by EADS SPACE. In 2002 EADS SPACE had a turnover of 2.2 billion Euros and 12,300 employees in France, Germany, the United Kingdom and Spain.