SAN DIEGO, Nov. 4, 1999 – International Launch Services (ILS) said today that no launches have been delayed due to the Oct. 27 Proton failure other than the mission that was scheduled for mid-November. That payload, ACeS Garuda 1, will be rescheduled as soon as the timeline for Proton return-to-flight is established and agreed to by ILS and Lockheed Martin's Failure Review Oversight Board.
"Facts will drive the investigation, and its outcome will drive the return-to-flight," said Dr. Mark J. Albrecht, ILS President. "It is easy to speculate after a launch failure about probable causes as well as the impact to our business. However, ILS is committed to letting the failure investigation process determine the root cause."
Albrecht added, "We and our Russian partners are doing everything we possibly can to protect all of the flights on our manifest and ensure mission success for our Proton customers."
The balance of the 1999 ILS commercial Proton manifest contains some flexibility due to delays in several satellite programs unrelated to the Proton failure. ILS plans that the failure resolution will conclude during that timeframe. It will firm up the manifest for 2000 as customers commit to satellite delivery schedules and the Proton is cleared for return to flight. Currently, the commercial Proton manifest calls for between 8 and 10 launches in 2000.
The failure investigation is being led by a Russian Intergovernmental Commission headed by Academician Vladimir Utkin, Director of the TSNIIMASH research and development institute. The Commission has informed ILS that it is committed to presenting a preliminary report on the failure to Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on Nov. 17. ILS will announce its Failure Review Oversight Board once the requisite Technical Assistance Agreement has been approved by the U.S. government to allow exchange of data regarding the failure.
ILS was formed out of the merger of Lockheed and Martin Marietta in 1995. The company markets commercial launch services utilizing the Lockheed Martin-built Atlas and the Russian-built Proton and Angara launch vehicles for government and commercial satellite customers worldwide. ILS has nearly 80 employees and a combined backlog worth over US $3.5 billion.