SAN DIEGO, Oct. 25, 1996 – International Launch Services (ILS) announced today that Hughes Space and Communications International, Inc. has elected to use four options under existing Proton and Atlas launch service contracts to launch mobile communications satellites for ICO Global Communications.
Launch service contracts for Proton and Atlas are held through ILS contracting affiliates Lockheed Khrunichev Energia (LKE) and Lockheed Martin Commercial Launch Services. Firm launch commitments for the ILS commercial Proton program total 17, with one launched (ASTRA 1F in April of this year). Future firm launch commitments total 29 for Atlas; 34 have been launched since the beginning of the commercial program.
The three Proton launches will take place in 1999 and 2000 from Baikonur Cosmodrome in the Republic of Kazakhstan. The Atlas will launch in late 1998 from Cape Canaveral, Florida, Complex 36, using the IIAS configuration.
ICO is a commercial venture of investors from more than 40 countries. ICO will provide a global satellite phone service that is intended to interwork with existing cellular communications networks around the world. The ten operational ICO satellites will operate for 12 years in intermediate circular orbit 10,400 kilometers, or 6,430 miles, above Earth. They will be in two orbital planes that cross at a 90-degree angle.
ILS is a joint venture company established in 1995 to jointly market Proton and the Lockheed Martin Astronautics-built Atlas to the worldwide satellite launch market. ILS is owned by Lockheed Martin Corporation’s Commercial Launch Services Company and the company’s LKEI joint venture with Khrunichev and RSC Energia in Russia.
Proton is built by Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Center in Moscow. Atlas is built at Lockheed Martin Astronautics facilities in Denver, CO; San Diego, CA; and Harlingen, TX.