PARIS, Sept. 6, 2005 – International Launch Services (ILS) continues to celebrate a decade of success in which it revolutionized the satellite launch market, taking the leadership position with its innovative concepts and the most reliable launch vehicles in the industry.
A joint venture of Lockheed Martin of the United States and Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Center of Russia, ILS is the most successful American-Russian aerospace partnership. Since its inception, International Launch Services has signed contracts for more than 100 commercial and U.S. government launches, with a total value greater than US$8 billion.
International Launch Services resulted from the 1995 merger of Lockheed Corp. and Martin Marietta. At the time both companies offered launch vehicles in the intermediate-class market: Lockheed-Khrunichev-Energia International marketed the Proton, and Martin Marietta's Commercial Launch Services had the Atlas. ILS brought the sales, marketing and mission management responsibilities for both vehicles under a single management team.
ILS provides Atlas launches to U.S. government as well as commercial customers worldwide; it also markets Proton launches to commercial customers. Because both rockets carry a mix of government and commercial missions, ILS can boast that one or the other of its vehicles is launching every month, on average.
International Launch Services has consistently raised its market share and through the first eight months of 2005 has captured seven new awards. With a total of seven launches for commercial and government customers, the Atlas and Proton vehicles have the highest launch tempo in the industry.
"We're having another great year," said ILS President Mark Albrecht. "We have the world's two most reliable vehicles, launching at a regular tempo. That's how we are meeting the customers' demands for reliability and the flexibility to provide them schedule assurance."
ILS has completed five missions this year, including two that lifted off within five hours of each other on Feb. 3 (GMT). A sixth is scheduled for the end of this week, with a satellite for Telesat Canada on Proton. Last month, ILS launched the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter for NASA on Atlas V.
The Atlas launch vehicle family has achieved 100 percent mission success in 77 consecutive flights going back 12 years. The Proton family has flown 315 launches for ILS and the Russian government combined, and the current Proton Breeze M configuration has a 100 percent success rate. The Proton vehicle celebrated is 40th anniversary this summer, and the Baikonur Cosmodrome from which it launches marked its own 50th anniversary.
For the future, ILS is expanding its offerings with Angara, the new rocket family being developed by Khrunichev. With Angara 3 targeted for smaller payloads, and Proton and Atlas capable of intermediate and heavy lifting, ILS vehicles will cover the full range of the satellite spectrum.
ILS is based in McLean, Va., a suburb of Washington, D.C.