BAIKONUR COSMODROME, Kazakhstan, March 1, 2006 – Khrunichev and International Launch Services regret to announce the failure of the Proton launch vehicle to put the ARABSAT 4A satellite into proper orbit for EADS Astrium and ARABSAT.
The Proton Breeze M rocket lifted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome at 2:10 a.m. today local time (3:10 p.m. Tuesday EST, 20:10 Tuesday GMT). Preliminary flight information indicates that the Breeze M upper stage shut down early during its planned burn sequence. As a contingency, the satellite was separated. We cannot comment on the disposition of the spacecraft at this time.
A Russian State Commission is being formed to determine the reasons for the anomaly. In parallel with the State Commission, ILS will form its own Failure Review Oversight Board to review reasons for the anomaly and define a corrective action plan. ILS will release additional information when it becomes available.
ILS remains committed to providing reliable, timely launch services for all its customers. To this end, ILS will work diligently with its partner Khrunichev to return Proton to flight as soon as possible.