BAIKONUR COSMODROME, Kazakhstan, September 18, 2009 –International Launch Services (ILS), a world leader in providing mission and launch services to the commercial satellite industry, successfully carried the Nimiq 5 satellite into orbit today on an ILS Proton for Telesat, the fourth largest fixed satellite services operator worldwide. This was the fifth commercial mission of the year for ILS and the seventh successful Proton launch of 2009. With the launch of Nimiq 5 today, ILS has launched half of Telesat’s operational fleet.
The ILS Proton Breeze M launched from Pad 39 at the Baikonur Cosmodrome at 1:19 am today local time (19:19 GMT, 12:19 PDT; 15:19 EDT, September 17). After a 9 hour 15 minute mission, the Breeze M successfully released the Nimiq 5 satellite, weighing almost 5 tons, into geostationary transfer orbit. This was the 348th launch for the Proton.
The Proton Breeze M vehicle was developed and built by Khrunichev Research and Production Space Center of Moscow (Khrunichev), Russia’s premier space manufacturer.
Telesat’s Nimiq 5, built by Space Systems/Loral (SS/L), will be located at 72.7 degrees West. The satellite will provide coverage of North America and supports growing demand for direct-to-home television services. This is the fifth SS/L-built satellite in Telesat’s global fleet. It is based on the SS/L 1300 platform and is designed for a lifespan of more than 15 years.
ILS President Frank McKenna said, “We are pleased to build on our longstanding relationship with Telesat, which began with the launch of Nimiq 1 ten years ago. This was followed by another milestone in 2002 when Telesat’s Nimiq 2 became the first commercial satellite to launch using the Proton Breeze M configuration. We are honored to assist Telesat in fulfilling their business plans with the ILS Proton launch of Nimiq 5.”
“The successful ILS Proton launch of Nimiq 5 will assure reliable access to advanced digital programming for North American subscribers and also assures the continued expansion of our business,” said Dan Goldberg, president and CEO of Telesat. “We appreciate the professionalism and dependability ILS and Khrunichev provided with another flawless ILS Proton launch. My sincere thanks to the entire team of ILS, Khrunichev, Space Systems/Loral and Telesat for their steadfast dedication throughout the mission and for a job well done.”