BAIKONUR COSMODROME, Kazakhstan, Feb. 11, 2008 – A Proton launch vehicle successfully lifted the THOR 5 satellite into orbit today, marking the first mission of the year for International Launch Services (ILS), and the second Proton flight in two weeks.
The Proton Breeze M vehicle, built by ILS partner Khrunichev Space Center of Moscow, lifted off from Pad 39 at the cosmodrome at 5:34 p.m. today local time (6:34 a.m. EST, 11:34 GMT). After a 9-hour-23-minute mission, the launcher released the satellite directly into geostationary orbit.
The THOR 5 satellite will operate at 1 degree West longitude, where it will deliver broadcast and interactive services across the Nordic region, Europe and the Middle East for Telenor Satellite Broadcasting of Norway. THOR 5 is a STAR 2 model spacecraft built by Orbital Sciences Corp. of Dulles, Va., which contracted for the launch with ILS.
"We thank Orbital and Telenor for putting their confidence in ILS, especially since this was the first Proton mission for both companies," said ILS President Frank McKenna. He noted that the launch campaign proceeded smoothly after the spacecraft arrived at the launch site Jan. 12. "The launch of THOR 5, the sixth successful Proton launch in three-and-a-half months, further demonstrates the pace we and our partner expect to continue throughout 2008 for both commercial and federal missions."
"The THOR 5 satellite mission is off to a great start thanks to the successful launch by the ILS Proton rocket," said Christopher Richmond, Orbital’s senior vice president and head of the company’s GEO communications satellite programs. "We are now looking forward to successfully testing and activating the THOR 5 satellite and are committed to providing Telenor with the highest level of customer support in the years to come."
"I would like to extend my thanks to ILS for performing a successful launch," said Cato Halsaa, CEO, Telenor Satellite Broadcasting. "The launch of THOR 5 represents a milestone for Telenor Satellite Broadcasting and demonstrates our commitment to the satellite industry and our firm belief that satellites will continue to play an important role as a distribution platform for TV entertainment."
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.
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