McLEAN, Va., Sept. 6, 2005 – Following the successful launch of the DIRECTV 8 satellite in May, DIRECTV has contracted with International Launch Services (ILS) for another mission on a Proton vehicle.
The launch, on a Russian-built Proton/Breeze M rocket, is planned for second quarter 2007 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The contract includes an option for an additional launch.
This satellite is one of three 702 model spacecraft being built for DIRECTV by Boeing Satellite Systems. The 702 is Boeingï¿½s largest satellite, and at more than 6,000 kg will be the heaviest commercial payload launched by Proton.
This is the seventh award for International Launch Services in 2005. ILS is a joint venture of Russian rocket builder Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Center, and Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT), builder of the Atlas launch vehicle.
"Satellite-delivered HDTV is driving the business for many of our customers," said ILS President Mark Albrecht. "We are delighted to again help DIRECTV connect with its customers and expand its services in the United States."
The new Ka-band DIRECTV satellite is one of two that will launch in early 2007 and join DIRECTV's SPACEWAY 1 and 2 satellites in providing DIRECTV with the capacity for more than 1,500 additional local high-definition channels, more than 150 national HD channels and other new programming offerings.
DIRECTV Senior Vice President Jim Butterworth said, "ILS has repeatedly demonstrated a commitment to meet a launch schedule and provide reliable launch services. We look forward to another successful launch aboard Proton and the rollout of new HD and other programming services for our customers."
This will be the third DIRECTV satellite launched on a Proton vehicle. DIRECTV 8 was launched on May 22 of this year, and DIRECTV 5 was carried to orbit in 2002. The Atlas vehicle also has launched two satellites for DIRECTV: DBS 2 and DIRECTV 6, in 1994 and 1997, respectively.
International Launch Services marks its 10th anniversary this year, as well as the 40th anniversary of the Proton vehicle and the 50th anniversary of the Baikonur Cosmodrome. Based in McLean, Va., a suburb of Washington, D.C., ILS is the global leader in launch services, offering the industry's two best launch systems: Atlas and Proton. The two vehicles together have accumulated more than 80 years of flight experience and more than 900 missions, demonstrating the reliability and flexibility that have made them the preferred choice among satellite operators worldwide.