BAIKONUR COSMODROME, Kazakhstan, April 3, 2009 – International Launch Services (ILS), a world leader in providing mission and launch services to the commercial space industry, successfully carried the W2A satellite to orbit for Eutelsat Communications of France on an ILS Proton. The Proton vehicle lifted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome at 10:24 p.m. local time (12:24 p.m. EDT, 16:24 GMT).
The launch of the W2A satellite marks the first ILS launch of the year and the 50th commercial launch overall for ILS; a significant milestone. The Proton Breeze M vehicle is built by Khrunichev Space Center of Moscow and has a heritage of 344 missions since its inception.
The W2A spacecraft built by ThalesAleniaSpace, is a Spacebus 4000 C4 model and carried three payloads including the first S-band payload for Europe. The W2A C-band and Ku-band payloads for Eutelsat will provide Europe, Africa and the Middle East with an array of professional video and business services. Solaris Mobile is a joint venture between SES Astra and Eutelsat. The satellite, the 27th in the Eutelsat fleet, will be operated at Eutelsat’s 10 degrees East location, an orbital location used by Eutelsat for over 20 years.
Frank McKenna, President of International Launch Services, said, “This 50th ILS launch marked an important milestone for ILS. ILS Proton for W2A met Eutelsat’s vital schedule requirements with unique flexibility. This ILS capability ensured the landmark delivery of the first S-band service for Europe. We thank our long term customer Eutelsat for relying on ILS and Proton to contribute to the ongoing success of their business.”
“Eutelsat congratulates ILS on its 50th Proton launch; we are pleased to share the honor of this important occasion. ILS was able launch within our critical timeframe allowing us to expand and diversify our in-orbit resources. We extend our sincere thanks to ILS and their partner, Khrunichev, for a professionally executed and successful launch campaign," said Giuliano Berretta, Chairman and CEO of Eutelsat.