GENEVA, Oct. 10, 1999 – International Launch Services (ILS) announced today at Telecom '99 a new look at how it will offer launch services to the international satellite-based communications marketplace. In addition, ILS is showcasing the Angara family of rockets, the newest product offering that extends the already successful partnership of Lockheed Martin with Khrunichev Space Center.
The ILS launch fleet now encompasses the Proton and Angara, and the Atlas II, III and V families. This diverse fleet of heritage vehicles and new launchers makes it possible to offer mutual backup capability, which is an integral part of the new way of doing business that ILS envisions for the future. The customer-focused strategy follows months of intensive discussions with satellite manufacturers and end users to ascertain exactly what the market demands.
"We are reinventing ILS," said Leonard R. Dest, acting president of ILS. "We recognize that the days are over when we could simply be a rocket supplier."
"Rockets are limited by the laws of physics, but the way we do business with our customers is limited only by the number of creative solutions we bring to the table in helping our customers achieve their business objectives," Dest said.
The process of surveying customers has focused on several areas that will ultimately become new solutions offered to customers to support the varied business plans that are being generated not only by long-established satellite communication companies but also new, start-up companies.
These solutions will offer schedule flexibility, schedule assurance and financial strategies using the broadest range of launcher products in the world with the highest reliability in the industry.
The new products – Atlas III and V and Angara – are built on the solid technical heritage of Atlas and Proton, launch vehicles that have been in service for decades. Atlas III's evolutionary technical approach based on hardware systems flight proven in incremental phases reduces the risk associated with bringing new launch products on line. Atlas III's first flight is scheduled for early 2000. Atlas V's first flight will occur in late 2001. Angara's initial configurations will start flying in 2001, and the more powerful Angara will commence launching in 2004.
Of the heritage products, Atlas just accomplished its 44th consecutive successful launch on Sept. 23 with the launch of EchoStar V on an Atlas IIAS. The entire Atlas II family has achieved 100% mission success from first launch of each of the three configurations. Each of the first flights launched a real payload with a paying customer.
Proton successfully returned to flight in September following the July failure of a Russian government mission. This was followed by the recent successful ILS commercial launch of LMI-1 on Sept. 27. Proton's reliability is one of the highest in the industry. Proton has the power to launch from a northern launch site and still surpass the performance of launchers with a more advantageous southern latitude.
The value of the combined ILS backlog now stands at USD $3.5 billion. Forty-nine launches are scheduled through the year 2005.
ILS is using the occasion of Telecom '99 to engage in further talks with customers to refine the details of its new way of doing business, which is expected to be rolled out over the next several months.