PARIS AIR SHOW, June 14, 2005 – International Launch Services (ILS), which made its debut at Le Bourget 10 years ago, celebrates a decade in which it revolutionized the satellite launch market, taking the leadership position with its innovative concepts and the most reliable launch vehicles in the industry.
A joint venture of Lockheed Martin of the United States (NYSE: LMT) and Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Center of Russia, ILS is the most successful American-Russian aerospace partnership.
Since its inception, ILS has signed contracts for more than 100 commercial and U.S. government launches, with a total value greater than US$8 billion. ILS has consistently raised its market share, and this year has captured six new awards.
ILS resulted from the 1995 merger of Lockheed Corp. and Martin Marietta. At the time both companies offered launch vehicles in the intermediate-class market: Lockheed-Khrunichev-Energia International marketed the Proton, and Martin Marietta's Commercial Launch Services had the Atlas. ILS brought the sales, marketing and mission management responsibilities for both vehicles under a single management team.
ILS provides Atlas launches to U.S. government as well as commercial customers worldwide; it also markets Proton launches to commercial customers. Because both rockets carry a mix of government and commercial missions, ILS can boast that one or the other of its vehicles is launching every month, on average.
"We're having another great year," said ILS President Mark Albrecht. "We have the world's two most reliable vehicles, launching at a regular tempo. That's how we are meeting the customers' demands for reliability and the flexibility to provide them schedule assurance."
ILS has completed four missions this year, including two that lifted off within five hours of each other on Feb. 3 (GMT). Similar back-to-back launches are scheduled for Aug. 9-10 (GMT), with a satellite for Telesat Canada on Proton and the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter for NASA on Atlas. At least five more Proton missions, for ILS and for the Russian government, are on the manifest through the end of the year. The next government Proton mission is scheduled for next week (June 23).
The Atlas launch vehicle family has achieved 100 percent mission success in 76 consecutive flights going back 12 years. The Proton family has flown 314 launches for ILS and the Russian government combined, and the current Proton Breeze M configuration boasts a 100 percent success rate.
For the future, ILS is expanding its offerings with Angara, the new rocket family being developed by Khrunichev. With Angara 3 targeted for smaller payloads, and Proton and Atlas capable of intermediate and heavy lifting, ILS vehicles will cover the full range of the satellite spectrum.
ILS is based in McLean, Va., a suburb of Washington, D.C.