SAN DIEGO, Dec. 18, 1997 – International Launch Services (ILS) announced today that a combined Russian and American team is conducting final preparations to launch a Proton rocket on December 23 carrying the AsiaSat 3 commercial communications satellite to orbit for Asia Satellite Telecommunications Company Limited of Hong Kong. The rocket is scheduled to lift off from Baikonur Cosmodrome in the Republic of Kazakhstan at 4:17:30 a.m. (6:17:30 p.m. USA Eastern Standard Time, December 22). The launch window is ten minutes long.
The three-stage Proton is produced by Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Center at its factory near Moscow. The fourth stage is built by RSC Energia, also near Moscow. The satellite was built by Hughes Space and Communications Company at its facilities in El Segundo, CA, USA, and is an HS 601HP design.
This will be the fourth and final ILS commercial launch to be carried out on Proton this year. Proton is also the primary heavy lifter for Russian government payloads as well as selected commercial launches that were secured by Khrunichev before the advent of ILS. The 1998 ILS commercial Proton schedule calls for nine launches.
Once on orbit at 105.5 degrees East longitude, AsiaSat 3 will provide television distribution and telecommunications services throughout Asia, the Middle East, and Australasia. AsiaSat, established in 1988, is Asia's first privately owned regional satellite operator. AsiaSat presently has two satellites on orbit, AsiaSat 1 and 2.
Notification of a successful launch will occur after spacecraft separation, approximately 6 hours and 41 minutes after liftoff. Launch status updates will be available on the ILS launch hotline ï¿½ 1-800-852-4980.
ILS is a joint venture stock company established in 1995 to market Proton and the Lockheed Martin Astronautics-built Atlas to the worldwide satellite launch market. ILS is owned by Lockheed Martin Commercial Launch Services and the Lockheed Khrunichev Energia International joint venture. ILS is headquartered in San Diego, CA, USA.