(from Khrunichev press release)
BAIKONUR COSMODROME, Kazakhstan, August 06, 2010 – The Khrunichev Space Center, Moscow shipped a Proton M launch vehicle to the Baikonur Launch Base on the night of August 6 to support the mission of Sirius XM-5, a U.S. communication spacecraft.
The launch of this satellite scheduled for October is to become a sixth flight of a Russian launcher this year for the benefit of a foreign customer.
The contract for XM-5 launch services was signed by International Launch Services (ILS) in 2009. The Space Systems/Loral-built spacecraft was ordered by SIRIUS XM Radio, a U.S. satellite communication operator.
ILS have exclusive rights to internationally market Proton, a Russian heavy-lift launch vehicle, and they have carried out 61 missions supported by this launcher since the latter’s first commercial flight in April 1996.
Khrunichev have become the owner of an ILS control stock in May 2008.
Mr. Vladimir Nesterov, Khrunichev General Director has said recently that “The hard-currency flow generated by commercial launches has grown almost threefold over the last five years — from $198,000,000 in 2005 to $584,000,000 in 2009. The active international marketing by Khrunichev of commercial launch services using Protons has already brought $4,3 bln. (including the cash in the form of taxes) into this country. And this is beneficial for the entire country – not for Khrunichev alone since each launcher is manufactured by more than one company. Provided that the existing contracts remain in force and have been implemented, the record-breaking $6 bln. level will be attained in 2011.”