Meeting Customer Demands in a Dynamic Environment – ILS Provides Unique Versatility
August 2, 2011 – The continued support of our customers during a dynamic first half of the year in commercial launch has been absolutely essential for our success. The ILS Proton manifest, as with all launch providers, is dependent on the timely delivery of our contracted missions. This year, the first three commercial launches in our manifest were delayed due to satellite deliveries and after our first ILS Proton launch, there were further shifts in the launch schedule due to satellite in-orbit anomalies and technical issues. However, ILS was able to minimize the impact of these delays on our downstream missions due to several factors: the robust production in the Proton factory, responsiveness of the ILS mission teams, and the new facilities that have been put in place at the launch site to accommodate overlapping campaigns. We appreciate the patience and support of our customers.
Our first mission of the year was for Telesat, with a successful launch on May 21, with the Telstar 14R/Estrela do Sul 2 satellite. ILS was able to accelerate this mission for Telesat due to the delayed delivery of other satellites that were scheduled to launch earlier in the year. Unfortunately, the satellite suffered a deployment anomaly after separation, and the resulting review process delayed deliveries of Space System/Loral spacecraft on our manifest. ILS Proton performed successfully on the mission and was exonerated during the anomaly review and cleared for future missions.
On July 16, ILS Proton launched the second mission for the year with a commercial first; a shared mission with the SES-3 satellite for SES and the KazSat-2 satellite to serve the Republic of Kazakhstan. SES-3 was the first Western satellite to be paired for launch with a Russian-built satellite. The SES-3 satellite was placed into geostationary transfer orbit, while the KazSat-2 satellite, built and managed by Khrunichev, was injected directly into geosynchronous orbit. This dual launch option was not previously available in the commercial market—and ILS was honored to have provided this attractive launch opportunity to our longtime customer, SES.
In addition to the shared launch option, ILS also offers the ILS Duo capability, designed in direct response to satellite operators’ demand for a lower cost solution for the delivering smaller spacecraft to orbit. The ILS Proton Duo capability is currently being marketed in conjunction with Orbital Sciences Corporation with two Orbital satellites stacked on a heavy lift Proton. Proton has a proven track record of launching multiple spacecraft to different orbits successfully (with the Iridium, Glonass, Express, Cosmos and Raduga spacecraft), and most recently, as a commercial first with the shared launch of SES-3 and KazSat-2 last month.
Strong Partners in Space: Russia and Kazakhstan
During the SES-3/KazSat-2 launch, high level dignitaries representing the Kazakh and Russian governments were in attendance to observe and offer support of this important milestone in the space industry for both countries. From Kazakhstan, the Prime Minister, Karim Masimov, the Minister of Defense, Adilbek Dzaksybekov, and the head of the Kazakh Space Agency, Kazkosmos, Talgat Musabaev attended, and from Russia, there was the head of the Russian Space Agency, Roscosmos, Vladimir Popovkin and Khrunichev Director General, Vladimir Nesterov. Immediately following the launch, the heads of the two space agencies met jointly to discuss future cooperation and other commons goals and interests in developments and advancements in space, launch site improvements and enhancing their well-established partnership.
New Business: Supporting Customers’ Plans for Expansion
ILS continues to be well received in the global commercial launch market. Just days ago, we signed a contract with Inmarsat for ILS Proton launches of their Global XPress™ constellation: Inmarsat 5 F1, Inmarsat 5 F2 and Inmarsat 5 F3. In addition to the Inmarsat triple award, we recently secured another ILS Proton launch in 2013, to be announced at a later date.
Earlier in the year, we announced the ILS Proton launch of the SES-6 for SES in 2013, the sixth mission under the Multi-Launch Agreement (MLA) signed over four years ago between ILS and SES Satellite Leasing Limited in the Isle of Man. One month later, we were awarded two launches from Mitsubishi Electric Corporation (MELCO) with the Turksat 4a satellite in 2013 and Turksat 4b satellite in 2014. Turksat 4a and 4b will serve MELCO’s customer, Turksat, bringing direct TV broadcasting and telecommunications services throughout Turkey. This brings ILS to a total of seven new launch orders to date and a backlog of missions valuing nearly $2.5 billion dollars.
Maximized Throughput to Serve the Global Market
The unique ability of ILS and our partner Khrunichev, to adapt to the evolving needs in the marketplace is critically important to our customers and we continue to work together to create flexible solutions to support their plans for growth, expansion and technological breakthroughs in the telecommunications industry.
Proton production has also contributed to our ability to serve and perform for our customers as demands require. With up to fourteen systems produced annually, the consolidation of key Proton suppliers under Khrunichev has contributed a steady production pace with maximized throughput to serve both the commercial and Federal Proton programs. To date, Proton has performed 31 consecutive successful missions since July of 2008; still the highest launch rate in the industry for a heavy-lift system.
The pace for the remainder of the year for ILS and Khrunichev will be rapid and robust. We plan to launch 5-6 additional commercial missions and 3-4 Federal Proton missions, with two commercial launches scheduled for September. ILS and Khrunichev are able to facilitate this rapid launch pace with the addition of the Second Spacecraft Processing Facility (SSPF) in Baikonur, completed this past spring. The SSPF allows overlapping campaigns, minimizing the required spacing between ILS launches from 5-6 weeks to around 3 weeks. Some of the upgrades include a new hotel for on-site personnel; two new spacecraft control rooms, new communications systems and several new offices. ILS Proton continues to provide unmatched schedule assurance and this demonstrated capability is strengthened with the addition of the SSPF.
While the marketplace is dynamic, the ILS and Khrunichev partnership continues to serve our customers’ goals and objectives. We look forward to a very busy second half of the year and thank our customers for their ongoing support, confidence and trust in ILS Proton.