6th ILS Proton Mission of 2010; 26th Proton Launch in 27 months
BAIKONUR COSMODROME, Kazakhstan, October 15, 2010 – International Launch Services (ILS), a world leader in providing mission and launch services to the commercial satellite industry, successfully carried the XM-5 satellite into orbit today on an ILS Proton for SIRIUS XM Radio, America’s satellite radio company. This was the 6th commercial mission of the year for ILS and the 9th successful Proton launch of 2010. This is the 5th ILS Proton launch for SIRIUS XM Radio beginning with the first launch in 2000.
The ILS Proton Breeze M launched from Pad 24 at the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, at 12:53 a.m. today local time (2:53 p.m. EDT, 18:53 GMT). After a 9 hour 12 minute mission, the Breeze M successfully released the XM-5 satellite, weighing over 5.9 metric tons, into geostationary transfer orbit. This was the 360th launch for Proton since its inaugural flight in 1965, and the 62nd ILS Proton launch overall. The Proton Breeze M launch vehicle was developed and built by Khrunichev Research and Production Space Center of Moscow, one of the pillars of the Russian space industry and the majority shareholder in ILS.
The XM-5 satellite was built on the flight proven Space Systems/Loral 1300 platform and is the 5th satellite for SIRIUS XM in orbit built by Space Systems/Loral. XM-5 is a high power satellite and is intended to serve as an in-orbit spare for the existing fleet of SIRIUS and XM satellites. The satellite will help enable the uninterrupted delivery of more than 130 channels of commercial-free music, and premier sports, news, talk and entertainment programming and traffic, weather, and data services to close to 20 million SIRIUS and XM subscribers. XM-5 is located at 80 degrees West, but will be situated at 85.2 degrees West after 30 days of in-orbit testing.
“The relationship we have with SIRIUS XM Radio dates back to over 10 years with the launch of the SIRIUS constellation of three satellites in 2000. The entire team of ILS, Khrunichev, SIRIUS XM and Space Systems/Loral once again worked throughout the mission to deliver the XM-5 satellite to orbit. We thank SIRIUS XM for entrusting ILS Proton with their business and allowing us to participate in the making of satellite radio history,” said ILS President Frank McKenna.
“The successful launch of XM-5 bolsters our continuity of services and will help ensure SIRIUS XM Radio’s audio and data services are reliably delivered to our customers. We knew we could count on ILS and Khrunichev to launch on-time and with flawless precision as they have been demonstrating for us for over a decade now,” said David Frear, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, SIRIUS XM Radio.