Today marks a special anniversary for ILS and the commercial launch industry: the 19 year anniversary of the first commercial ILS Proton flight with SES’s Astra 1F satellite on April 9, 1996. Since that historic launch, ILS has conducted 88 commercial launches to date, enabling the deployment of satellite communications across the world.
The Astra 1F satellite was the 239th Proton launch and took place on a very cold day from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. With over 80 journalists and others at the launch site witnessing the milestone first hand, Roman Bausch, SES’s former CEO said, “..the moment the rocket lit up the Kazakh sky, no one was thinking about the cold anymore. It was a beautiful and historic launch that established ILS as one of the trusted commercial launch service providers in the world.”