FIRST ILS PROTON LAUNCH OF 2010
click here for a high resolution launch photo
BAIKONUR COSMODROME, Kazakhstan, February 12, 2010 – International Launch Services (ILS), a world leader in providing mission and launch services to the commercial space industry, successfully carried the Intelsat 16 satellite to orbit for Intelsat S.A., the world’s leading provider of fixed satellite services, on an ILS Proton. The ILS Proton vehicle lifted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome at 6:39 a.m. local time (7:39 p.m. EST, 00:39 GMT). This was the 19th consecutive successful Proton mission in 18 months.
After a 9 hour 34 minute mission, the Breeze M successfully released the Intelsat 16 satellite into a near geostationary orbit. The spacecraft then utilized its on board fuel to maneuver to its geostationary orbit location at 58 degrees West Longitude.
The launch of the Intelsat 16 satellite marks the 1st ILS Proton launch of the year and the 57th commercial launch overall for ILS. It is the second Proton launch in just over two weeks, with the launch of a Federal mission on January 28, 2010. The Proton Breeze M vehicle is built by Khrunichev Space Center of Moscow, one of the pillars of the Russian aerospace industry and majority owner of ILS. Proton has a heritage of over 350 missions since its maiden flight in 1965.
The Intelsat 16 satellite was built on the Star 2.4 platform by Orbital Sciences Corporation has a 16 year life expectancy. The satellite expands Intelsat’s Latin American direct-to-home platform.
Frank McKenna, president of ILS said, “Intelsat is a longtime leader and innovator in the satellite telecommunications industry, having established the first commercial satellite communications system worldwide. We are honored to be launching the first ILS Proton mission of 2010 with Intelsat, with the launch of Intelsat 16. This is the 6th ILS Proton launched for Intelsat and we look forward to delivering quality and unmatched schedule assurance on all of our future missions with Intelsat.”
“ILS and Khrunichev have proven to be valuable partners for Intelsat, supporting our business with on-time launches. The launch of Intelsat 16 has been no exception and we thank the entire team from ILS, Khrunichev, Intelsat and Orbital for their dedication to the mission. We look forward to our continued relationship with ILS and Khrunichev and the upcoming Intelsat launches on ILS Proton,” said Intelsat’s Senior Vice President & Chief Technical Officer, Thierry Guillemin.