RESTON, Virginia, April 9, 2021–Twenty-five years ago, on April 9, 1996, a combined Russian, American and European team made space history with the first launch of a Western satellite onboard a Russian rocket. The Proton launch vehicle carried the ASTRA 1F satellite for SES of Luxembourg, to geosynchronous transfer orbit with an early morning liftoff from Baikonur Cosmodrome in the Republic of Kazakhstan.
The launch services for this milestone mission were conducted by International Launch Services (ILS), a U.S. company, headquartered in Reston, Virginia and established in 1995. The Proton launch vehicle, a U.S. Department of State licensed launch system, is manufactured by Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Center, of Moscow.
Today, Proton has conducted 97 commercial missions for over 50 companies representing 25 countries across the globe, forging ongoing partnerships in international cooperation in space.