BAIKONUR COSMODROME, Kazakhstan, November 24, 2009 – International Launch Services (ILS), a world leader in providing mission and launch services to the commercial space industry, successfully carried the W7 satellite to orbit for Eutelsat Communications of France on an ILS Proton. The Proton vehicle lifted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome at 8:19 p.m. local time (9:19 a.m. EST, 3:19 p.m. in Paris, 14:19 GMT). After a 9 hour 12 minute mission, the Breeze M successfully released the W7 satellite into geostationary transfer orbit.
The launch of the W7 satellite marks the 6th ILS Proton launch of the year and the 55th commercial launch overall for ILS. In April of this year, ILS launched the W2A satellite for Eutelsat, marking the 50th ILS Proton milestone. 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 349 missions since its inception in 1965.
The 5627 kg W7 satellite was built on the Spacebus 4000 C4 platform by Thales Alenia Space and has a 15 year life expectancy. The most powerful satellite in Eutelsat’s fleet, W7 will be situated at 36 degrees East to replace Eutelsat’s SESAT 1 satellite, launched on Proton in early 2000. W7 will double the capacity available within a key neighborhood among the fleet of geostationary satellites and provide enhanced coverage for Central Asia and Africa.
Frank McKenna, president of ILS said, “ILS and Khrunichev were uniquely poised to meet Eutelsat’s stringent requirement to launch in 2009 with our ability to integrate this mission in less than five months from contract to launch. It was an honor to demonstrate this capability with the successful launch of the W7 satellite today, just seven months after the landmark 50th ILS Proton launch with Eutelsat’s W2A satellite. We thank Eutelsat for once again, counting on ILS Proton to contribute to the expansion of their business.”
“We are pleased to continue our long term relationship with ILS with the launch of W7 on the powerful Proton Breeze M rocket. The flexibility and schedule adherence that ILS offers and delivers are essential to the continued success of our business. This on-time launch will allow Eutelsat to boost coverage and flexibility for addressing growing markets, notably in Russia and Africa. Our thanks and appreciation go out to the entire mission team for their diligent work and to ILS and Khrunichev for ensuring that the W7 launched on time this year,” said Michel de Rosen, CEO of Eutelsat.