BAIKONUR COSMODROME, Kazakhstan, November 14, 2010 – International Launch Services (ILS), a world leader in providing mission and launch services to the commercial satellite industry, successfully carried the SkyTerra 1 satellite into orbit today on an ILS Proton for LightSquared of Reston, Virginia. This was the 7th commercial mission of the year for ILS and the 10th successful Proton launch of 2010. The ILS Proton launch of SkyTerra 1 was the first satellite launch for LightSquared.
The ILS Proton Breeze M launched from Pad 39 at the cosmodrome at 11:29 p.m. today local time (12:29 p.m. EST, 17:29 GMT) After a 9 hour 14 minute mission, the Breeze M successfully released the SkyTerra 1 satellite, weighing over 5.3 metric tons, into geostationary transfer orbit. This was the 361st launch for Proton since its inaugural flight in 1965, and the 63nd ILS Proton launch overall. The Proton Breeze M launch vehicle was developed and built by Khrunichev Research and Production Space Center of Moscow, one of the pillars of the Russian space industry and the majority shareholder in ILS.
The SkyTerra 1 satellite, to be located at 101.3 degrees West, was built on the Boeing 702HP platform designed for geomobile services with an estimated lifetime of fifteen years. The SkyTerra 1 satellite features a 22-meter L-band reflector-based antenna — the largest commercial antenna reflector to be put into service. SkyTerra 1 will be among the first to combine satellite and terrestrial technologies for use in standard handsets and other devices. The 4G-LTE network offered by SkyTerra 1 will also be the first to provide wireless coverage to 100% of the population of the United States.
“It is very exciting for ILS to be a key partner for the launch of the SkyTerra 1 satellite for LightSquared, the new innovator for wireless broadband. The entire team of ILS, Khrunichev, LightSquared and Boeing have been keenly focused on ensuring that the SkyTerra 1 mission was executed flawlessly and on schedule. We want to thank LightSquared for entrusting us with the critical launch of SkyTerra 1 on ILS Proton, as this company brings affordable 4G wireless broadband to the entire United States,” said ILS President Frank McKenna.
“At LightSquared, our goal is to revolutionize wireless communications and our timeline to do that is very aggressive. We knew we could count on ILS and ILS Proton to help us maintain a steady pace with an on-time launch. The ILS Proton launch of the SkyTerra 1 satellite is an important step toward bringing mobile wireless services that are accessible anytime, anywhere, throughout the United States. We are grateful to the entire team of dedicated professionals who worked on the SkyTerra 1 launch,” said Sanjiv Ahuja, Chairman and CEO of LightSquared.