ILS recently participated in the 5th Global Space and Satellite Forum Conference 2015 in Abu Dhabi, UAE as an exhibit sponsor and panelist. The summit was hosted by the UAE Space Agency and brought together key regional and international stakeholders and decision makers from the space and satellite industry.
The Launch Services Providers Panel on May 27, entitled, “Update on Recent Missions, Challenges and Possibilities”, included ILS and other launchers. Tom Carroll, Regional Director of Sales represented ILS on the panel which was moderated by Peter Marquez, Vice President for Global Engagement, Planetary Resources.
The following is a summary of ILS’ participation.
Our company was formed 22 years ago as a joint venture to bring the Russian Proton launch vehicle, and now the Angara modular family of vehicles, to the global commercial market. Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Center is the manufacturer of the Proton and Angara vehicles and now the owner of ILS.
Changes in the Russian Space Industry
Under a new restructure, the Russian space industry is currently undergoing significant reform which includes Khrunichev. This is being undertaken under the auspices of United Rocket and Space Corporation (URSC). Eventually, URSC will be folded under a larger entity called Roscosmos, which will include the Russian Space Agency as well.
The industry reforms will continue as planned and directed by the Russian Federal government with the primary goal of improving overall quality across the entire Russian space industry through introduction of the following:
• A substantial capital investment in new technologies and processes
• Progressive changes in workforce culture leading to improved efficiency, training and productivity
• The use of both Russian and worldwide state of the art experience to build and improve the knowledge base. Khrunichev is seeking input from international experts—not just internal to the organization.
About ILS and Khrunichev
ILS and Khrunichev work together in the provision of launch services using the Proton M Breeze M launch vehicle– a heavy lift vehicle capable of launching 6.35 metric tons to a standard reference GTO orbit and 3.2MT to GSO. Khrunichev builds the launch vehicle as well as provides the mission design for the launch service.
ILS conducts the commercial sales and marketing of the Proton, manages the contracting, export licensing and spacecraft integration to the launch vehicle. Together the teams manage proton commercial launch operations at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
All major SC buses have been integrated and launched on the Proton vehicle – we launched the first DS2000 by MELCO last year. The Breeze M restartable upper stage provides the flexibility to launch into any type of orbit.
As we provide primarily dedicated launches, each mission profile is tailored for the specific spacecraft to maximize lifetime in orbit.
Proton can also launch two or more spacecraft at a time, including the independent placement of each spacecraft into its own orbit. We demonstrated this on a commercial mission in 2011, when the SES 3 spacecraft was launched in conjunction with the Kazsat 2 spacecraft. In that case, SES 3 was delivered to GTO while Kazsat was injected directly into GSO. Proton has also been used to launch hosted payloads and dual use spacecraft for various governments.
The New Generation of Vehicles: Angara
Angara is the new family of vehicles that we are now beginning to market commercially. It is a modular vehicle built around a common URM – Universal Rocket Module – that can launch a full range of mass classes to all types of orbits. The Angara 5 vehicle- with 5 clustered URMs as the main stage- is the heavy lift variant that will eventually replace the Proton vehicle. During the overlap period that will extend to 2025, the Russian Federal missions will gradually be transitioned from Proton to Angara starting in 2017.
The successful test flights of Angara 1.2 and Angara 5 were conducted last year. The next Angara 5 flight is projected for late 2016. ILS is currently offering some opportunities for launch on Angara out of Plesetsk and in 2021 and beyond, from the new Vostochny Cosmodrome.
The launch industry is filled with challenges as this is a fiercely competitive business and high risk business. And unfortunately, ILS and Khrunichev experienced a failure of the third stage of the Proton rocket carrying the Centenario satellite for the Mexican Government on May 16. A Russian State Commission, led by the head of Roscosmos Igor Komarov, conducted its work and provided their findings and corrective actions. In parallel with the State Commission, ILS formed its own Failure Review Oversight Board (FROB). In July, the FROB will review the commission’s final report and corrective action plan, in accordance with U.S. and Russian government export control regulations.
Our first launch of the year was the Inmarsat-5 F2 satellite for Inmarsat’s Global Xpress Program on February 1, the second of three satellites for the program to be launched by Proton.
ILS will work diligently with its partner Khrunichev to safely return Proton to flight as soon as possible. The commercial manifest will be reevaluated upon conclusion of the Russian State Commission and the ILS FROB.