McLEAN, Va., Feb. 10, 2005 — International Launch Services (ILS) and Eutelsat S.A. have signed a contract for the launch of a future Eutelsat satellite mission.
The contract was negotiated and signed in the framework of Eutelsat's strategy of contracting with different suppliers of satellites and launch services in order to ensure timely delivery of replacement capacity in orbit at its HOT BIRD's video neighborhood.
The launch is scheduled for the first quarter of 2006. The mission will use the powerful Proton/Breeze M launch vehicle configuration. The Proton is built by Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Center of Russia, which is partnered with Lockheed Martin (NYSE:LMT) of the United States in the ILS joint venture.
ILS President Mark Albrecht said: "Eutelsat is a long-time and valued customer, which has repeatedly demonstrated its confidence in both ILS vehicles, Proton and Atlas. We pride ourselves in offering the world's two most reliable rockets. In addition, we are familiar with the candidate satellite models, so our vehicles can accommodate whichever payload is finally designated by Eutelsat.
"We look forward to another successful mission with Eutelsat at the beginning of 2006," Albrecht said.
This will be the eighth Eutelsat launch on an ILS vehicle, and the company's second on an ILS Proton. Eutelsat, one of the world's leading satellite operators, has launched six times successfully on ILS' Lockheed Martin-built Atlas rocket. Three of those missions were the inaugural flights of Atlas variants: Atlas II, Atlas III and Atlas V.
Giuliano Berretta, Eutelsat's CEO, said: "It is important for our company's business plan to bring new HOT BIRD capacity into service in early 2006 in order to enhance security of our satellite system and to replace HOT BIRD 1. We are pleased with the substantial flexibility ILS offers us, and we count on another good flight."
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