Celebrating 15 Years in Commercial Launch
This month, ILS celebrates a very special anniversary—our 15th year in the commercial launch business. Our emergence over this period of time as one of the world’s most successful commercial launch providers is a testament to the strength of our partnership with Khrunichev, the quality and performance of the Proton launch system, and an unwavering commitment to provide value to our customers.
Our story dates back to 1995 when International Launch Services was formed. The first ILS Proton launch, which was the 238th for this heritage vehicle, took place less than a year later in 1996 with the Astra 1F satellite for SES. Initial operational impediments are past history as stream-lined processes, consolidated production facilities and world-class satellite processing capabilities are now in place. Since our inception, Proton performance has been steadily increased to meet market needs through planned evolutionary enhancements. As well, our ongoing quality assurance program with Khrunichev is in firmly in place and showing positive results.
We have come a long way since our early days. Today, we have a complete alignment of interests with Khrunichev, now our majority owner. We have worked hard over these years to meet the challenges and opportunities of a dynamic market with a sound and sustainable business approach that has enabled ILS and Khrunichev to play a vital role in the expansion of commercial satellite telecommunications around the globe. We remain squarely focused on meeting your critical business requirements as we look towards the next horizon.
The ILS and Khrunichev Partnership: Measurable Value for Customers
Our partnership with Khrunichev, one of the pillars of the Russian space industry, has created quantifiable value for our customers. As operator’s business plans call for growth and expansion, an on-time launch is absolutely critical. With a proven track record of meeting our customer’s schedule requirements, the top performing team of ILS and Khrunichev work seamlessly together, alongside our customers, to ensure that each mission is performed flawlessly.
We have also been reaping the benefits of a robust production rate for Proton. With the consolidation of most of the Proton suppliers and manufacturers under Khrunichev, hardware production is streamlined, with up to 14 systems produced annually. With a concurrent Federal program, Proton launches at the rate of once per month. This is the highest launch rate in the industry for a single system and contributes to the successful 23 consecutive missions in 23 months on Proton to date.
Proton Performance in 2010
This year has already shaped up to be a very exciting one. With six Protons launched this year–four commercial missions (Intelsat 16 for Intelsat, EchoStar XIV for EchoStar and DISH Network, SES-1 for SES and BADR-5 for Arabsat)–we expect that pace to continue with up to eight commercial missions and up to five Federal missions by the end of the year. That is a remarkable launch rate for the industry and continues to remain unmatched by others.
The steady evolution of the Proton vehicle, with enhanced lift capability of now over 6 metric tons, continues to reach new performance milestones. One such milestone was recently demonstrated in March with the launch of the first Phase III vehicle with the 6.3 metric ton EchoStar XIV satellite for EchoStar. This mission required an optimized delivery to geostationary transfer orbit—and ILS Proton delivered flawlessly and on-time. SES-1 came on the heels of that mission with a launch in April. This mission was a direct injection into geostationary orbit, adding an additional year of life to the satellite and meeting SES’s schedule requirements without delay.
New Business and New Offerings
This mid-year message includes several new announcements and offerings on ILS Proton. Our announcement earlier in the year of the shared ILS Proton launch of the SES-3 satellite with Kazsat-2, under the Multi Launch Agreement, provides a viable launch alternative that previously did not exist. We announced two firm missions with Intelsat, to launch the Intelsat 21 and Intelsat 22 satellites. Intelsat 22, to launch in 2012, will utilize a super-synchronous transfer orbit mission design and will carry a hosted payload to serve both the U.S. and Australian militaries. We were entrusted with two Telesat missions, first with Nimiq 6, then ANIK G1 announced this month. Both missions are scheduled to launch in 2012.
On May 28th, we announced a contract with Gazprom Space Systems, a subsidiary of the world’s largest producer of natural gas, Gazprom, with the launches of Yamal 401 and Yamal 402 in 2012-13. The ILS/ Khrunichev partnership was ideally suited for these missions—the first Russian commercial award for ILS– with established relationships with both satellite manufacturers, Thales Alenia Space and Russian spacecraft manufacturer, ISS Reshetnev.
Our Customers are the Foundation to our Success
ILS, with partner Khrunichev, is a sustainable and strong business and continues to thrive in a dynamic, ever-changing marketplace. We continue to adapt to the needs of our customers, providing creative, sound solutions to meet their critical business plans. Their trust and confidence in ILS, whether it is their first mission or their fourteenth—is highly valued and significantly contributes to our 15 year success story. Our commitment to you never waivers and we look forward to supporting you and performing on each mission for many years to come.
With sincere gratitude,