McLEAN, Va., June 28, 2001 – International Launch Services (ILS) is scheduled to launch Telesat Canada's Nimiq 2 satellite in late 2002 on an Atlas V rocket, under a contract announced today with the satellite's builder, Lockheed Martin Commercial Space Systems (LMCSS).
The Nimiq 2 satellite is an A2100AX model that LMCSS is building for Telesat Canada to provide direct broadcast services across Canada. ILS also launched the LMCSS-built Nimiq 1 satellite in 1999.
"We welcome the opportunity to launch Nimiq 2 on an Atlas V," said ILS President Mark Albrecht. "The customer community has been very receptive to the Atlas V, and we're on track to launch the first in the series next year."
The first vehicle in the high-performance Atlas V lineup has been completed by Lockheed Martin Space Systems in Denver, Colo., and is undergoing processing at Cape Canaveral, Fla. It will be ready for launch in the second quarter of 2002.
ILS was formed in 1995 to provide launch services to customers worldwide, including technical, management and marketing expertise. It is a joint venture of Lockheed Martin Corp. in the United States, with Russian companies Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Center and RSC Energia, producers of the Proton vehicles.
"ILS launched the first Nimiq on Proton, and a Proton will be available as a backup for Nimiq 2," Albrecht said. "By offering Mutual Backup between Atlas and Proton, we can assure customers that when they choose ILS, they will be launched on time."
Larry Boisvert, Telesat's president and CEO, said: "Telesat is impressed with the track record of the ILS family of vehicles, and ILS' commitment to schedule. The timely launch of Telesat's second direct broadcast satellite will enable the continued growth of our business."
Nimiq 2 is a high-power Ku/Ka-band satellite to be located at 91 degrees West longitude. Nimiq 2's Ka-band payload will provide broadband services. The satellite's name – chosen from 36,000 submissions in a national contest in 1998 – is an Inuit word for any object or force that unites things or binds them together.
"We are honored that Telesat has selected Lockheed Martin to provide another A2100 satellite and launch on an Atlas V," said Ted Gavrilis, LMCSS president. "We look forward to furthering our relationship with Telesat and delivering mission success for our valued customer."
Gavrilis noted that Commercial Space Systems selected ILS because of its proven performance and reliability. The Atlas launch vehicle has attained an impressive record of 55 consecutive successful launches.
The Atlas V family is designed to lift payloads up to nearly 8700 kg to geosynchronous transfer orbit (GTO). It was developed both for ILS commercial missions and to meet the U.S. Air Force requirements for the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV). The Atlas V incorporates state-of-the-art designs, materials and processes, including the throttleable, Russian-built RD-180 engine, the first variable-thrust main engine to power a U.S. expendable launch vehicle. The RD-180 and most of the other technologies for Atlas V were flight-proven last year, during ILS' successful inaugural launch of the Atlas III rocket.
ILS offers the broadest range of launch services in the world along with products with the highest reliability in the industry. ILS' Atlas rockets and their Centaur upper stages are built by Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company-Astronautics Operations at facilities in Denver; Harlingen, Texas; and San Diego, Calif. The three-stage Proton and the available Breeze M upper stage are produced by Khrunichev at its factory near Moscow. The alternative Block DM upper stage is built by Energia, also near Moscow.