MOSCOW, February 12, 2000 – International Launch Services (ILS) successfully launched the ACeS Garuda 1 Global Mobile Personal Communications Systems satellite into geosynchronous transfer orbit today for ASIA Cellular Satellite (ACeS) International.
The satellite, which is the world’s first regional satellite-based mobile telecommunications system specifically designed for the Asian market, was launched on a Proton/Block DM at 14:10:54 Baikonur time (4:10:54 a.m. USA EST) from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in the Republic of Kazakhstan.
“We are very pleased to be a part of this historic mission,” said Dr. Mark J. Albrecht, President of ILS. “From the architecture and innovative commercial applications of the spacecraft, to the enhanced capability of the Proton rocket, the ACeS Garuda 1 launch is a significant milestone for all parties involved.”
For ILS, the San Diego, CA, USA-based launch services provider, the ACeS Garuda 1 mission marks its first launch on Proton this year and the successful return to flight of the Proton launch vehicle. It is also the 13th successful commercial Proton mission under the auspices of ILS.
ACeS International is jointly owned by PT Pasifik Satelit Nusantara (PSN) of Indonesia, Lockheed Martin Global Telecommunications (LMGT) of Bethesda, MD, USA, the Philippine Long Distance Company (PLDT) and Jasmine International Public Company Ltd. of Thailand. ACeS, the end-user, will provide voice, facsimile, data and Internet services through hand-held mobile and fixed terminals throughout Asia. Starting commercial service in the third quarter of 2000, ACeS will offer complete telecommunications coverage at cost-effective rates to end-users.
“The milestone launch of Garuda 1 is the realization of a truly international, cooperative effort among our ACeS partners, Lockheed Martin, Khrunichev and ILS,” said Adi R. Adiwoso, CEO of ACeS. “Today’s successful launch brings us one step closer to the start of commercial service. We are looking forward to providing the most advanced telecommunication services to customers throughout Asia and beyond.”
For Lockheed Martin Commercial Space Systems (LMCSS), the Sunnyvale, CA, USA-based satellite manufacturer, the spacecraft signifies significant technology breakthroughs. ACeS Garuda 1 is one of the most powerful telecommunications satellites ever launched, boasting 14 kilowatts at the beginning of its life and 9 kilowatts at the end. As a result, the commercial geostationary satellite can be communicated with from the ground using a typical mobile phone handset. In addition, ACeS Garuda 1 is the largest commercial satellite ever built by Lockheed Martin.
“When completed, the ACeS constellation will instantaneously provide the communications infrastructure required to serve more than half of the world’s population,” said Peter Kujawski, President of Lockheed Martin Commercial Space Systems. “Given the size and topography of Asia, satellite-based telecommunications service is the best way to serve this market. We’re extremely pleased to be part of the ACeS team.”
LMGT, based in Bethesda, MD, is a wholly owned subsidiary of Lockheed Martin formed to provide space-based and terrestrial networks and telecommunications services for corporate and government customers worldwide. Its Chief Executive Officer, John V. Sponyoe, said, “Today’s successful launch of Garuda 1 is an important achievement for all team members and an essential element in our ability to offer low-cost, high-quality mobile telecommunications services throughout the Asia-Pacific region.”
Weighing 4,500 kilograms, ACeS Garuda 1 is the heaviest single commercial satellite ever launched on Proton by Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Center (KhSC), the Moscow-based manufacturer of the Proton rocket’s first three stages and the payload fairing. In addition, it is physically the largest payload to fit in the standard commercial Proton fairing to date, standing over six meters tall.
“Our Proton launch vehicle is uniquely capable of supporting the requirements of the growing commercial satellite marketplace, which continues to demand services for larger and heavier satellites,” said Anatoly Kiselev, Director General of Khrunichev Space Center.
Another launch first is the commercial three-burn injection to orbit by the Block DM for geosynchronous transfer orbit (GTO) by RSC Energia, the near Moscow-based builder of the Block DM fourth stage. Traditionally, the Block DM produces only two burns for commercial flights, but the three-burn mission allows the Proton to place a significantly larger mass into the initial low earth (LEO) parking orbit.
Headquartered in San Diego, CA, USA, International Launch Services (ILS) is a joint venture stock company established in 1995 to jointly market the Russian-built Proton and the Lockheed Martin-built Atlas to the worldwide satellite launch market. The company currently offers the broadest range of launcher products in the world — including Angara, the next generation Russian rocket — along with the highest reliability in the industry. ILS is owned by Lockheed Martin Commercial Launch Services (LMCLS) and the Lockheed Khrunichev Energia International (LKEI) joint venture.