BAIKONUR COSMODROME, Kazakhstan, Nov. 18, 2007 – A Proton launch vehicle successfully lifted the SIRIUS 4 satellite into orbit today, marking the fourth mission of the year for International Launch Services (ILS).
The Proton Breeze M vehicle, built by ILS partner Khrunichev Space Center of Moscow, lifted off from Pad 39 at the cosmodrome at 4:39 a.m. today local time (5:39 p.m. EST Saturday, 22:39 GMT Saturday). After a 9-hour-13-minute mission, the launcher released the satellite into geostationary transfer orbit.
The SIRIUS 4 satellite is expected to go into service at the beginning of January at 5 degrees East longitude, where it will deliver broadcast and broadband services across Europe and parts of Africa for SES SIRIUS of Sweden.
"This was an especially important mission for ILS and our customer, SES SIRIUS," said ILS President Frank McKenna. "ILS and our partner, Khrunichev, continue to focus on performance and on our long-term relationship with the SES group of companies." This was SES SIRIUS' first mission with ILS, which has launched 12 other satellites on Proton for sister companies SES ASTRA and SES AMERICOM since 1996.
"We are very proud and satisfied that the SIRIUS 4 mission has been a success," said Hakan Sjodin, managing director of SES SIRIUS. "SIRIUS 4 will benefit our customers and extend our coverage and service in Eastern Europe. The success of the SIRIUS 4 mission is a milestone in our company history and we would like to express our appreciation of the good cooperation with our launch partners, International Launch Services and Lockheed Martin Commercial Space Systems."
Lockheed Martin built the SIRIUS 4 spacecraft using its A2100 platform. This was the 10th Proton mission with this type of spacecraft.
International Launch Services is the U.S.-Russian joint venture between Space Transport Inc. and Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Center with RSC Energia. ILS has the exclusive rights for worldwide commercial sales and mission management of satellite launches on Russia's premier vehicle, the Proton, and the future Angara vehicle. ILS is incorporated in Delaware in the United States, and is headquartered in McLean, Va., a suburb of Washington, D.C.