The 17th annual Asia Pacific Satellite Communications Council (APSCC) conference was held September 23 – 25 in Phuket, Thailand and joined together a wide range of professionals representing the satellite and space industry. Themed “New Landscape for Satellites: Asia and Beyond,” the conference tracks focused on the issues, challenges and opportunities for the satellite industry in Asia and also globally.
The launch services roundtable, moderated by Peter Jackson of PJ Square, was an opportunity for launch providers to discuss the industry in relation to the Asia Pacific region. Thomas Carroll, Regional Director, Sales of International Launch Services (ILS), was joined by executives from Arianespace, China Great Wall Industry, Mitsubishi Heavy Industry, Sea Launch and SpaceX. The following is a summary of ILS’ participation.
ILS: Serving the Asia Pacific Region
ILS Proton has launched approximately 50 satellites that have enabled communications within the Asia Pacific region. These services range from consumer broadband, HDTV, commercial and government applications to vital regional and global communications services. ILS is honored to be entrusted to launch our customers’ satellites.
Adjusting to a Dynamic Marketplace
ILS and Khrunichev, our parent company and maker of the Proton launch vehicle, are adjusting to changes in the marketplace as these are dynamic times for the commercial launch industry.
While ILS has been averaging 7 to 8 commercial missions over the past six years, 2014 will be lower with a total of 3 ILS missions planned, including TURKSAT-4A which launched in February and 2 mores anticipated by the end of the year. Our projected commercial manifest for 2015 is planned to rebound at 6 to 7 commercial missions. For 2016 and 2017, we are planning 3 to 4 commercial missions and then 5 to 6 missions per year for 2018 and beyond.
Electric Propulsion and Proton
Launching electric propulsion has been a proven capability for Proton for many years for the most Russian Federal satellite programs. With a 6.35 MT heavy lift capability, Proton can either launch one or two heavier electric propulsion satellites into GTO or two lighter electric propulsion satellites directly to GSO, thereby reducing the time to final orbit for these electric satellites to hours after liftoff. While other launch services project months for orbit raising from GTO, ILS Proton can provide the performance to reduce the orbit raising projections to weeks.
Challenges and Opportunities
A return to flight Proton mission, following a May failure of a Russian Federal mission this year, is planned for September 28. While the Russian Interagency Commission has concluded their investigation, the ILS Failure Review Oversight Board (FROB) is in the midst of closing its review this week. ILS and Khrunichev are preparing for as many as five missions before the end of 2014 including Russian Federal and Commercial missions.
In early August, Andrey Kalinovskiy was appointed as the new Director General of Khrunichev. Kalinovskiy is a former Vice President of Sukhoi Civil Aircraft Company. His achievements at Sukhoi included successfully implementing significant and broad-based improvements of their quality systems. For Khrunichev, his main focus will be to improve the quality process to deliver reliable Proton launch services to include:
• New capital investment in technologies and processes
• Change in workforce culture for improved training and productivity
• Improvement of Quality Management through use of both Russian and Global experts.
ILS and Khrunichev look forward to continuing to serve our customers for many years to come.