SAN DIEGO, June 14, 1999 – A combined Russian, European and American team is conducting final preparations to launch a Proton rocket on June 18 carrying the ASTRA 1H communications satellite to orbit for Societe Europienne des Satellites (SES). The rocket is scheduled to lift off from Baikonur Cosmodrome in the Republic of Kazakhstan at 7:49:30 a.m. (9:49:30 p.m. USA EDT, June 17; 01:49:30 GMT, June 18). 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 at its facilities in El Segundo, Calif., and is an HS 601HP design. International Launch Services (ILS) is providing mission management for the Proton launch.

The launch of ASTRA 1H will be the fourth ILS commercial launch to be carried out on Proton this year and the twelfth launch overall since the Lockheed Martin, Khrunichev and Energia joint venture was formed. This launch is also the fourth launch on Proton for SES.

ASTRA 1H is the ninth satellite in the ASTRA constellation and the eighth to be colocated at 19.2 degrees East longitude. The satellite is the first in the ASTRA series to carry a Ka-band payload, which will offer broadband interactive applications to Europe. The Ku-band payload offers backup capacity within the ASTRA fleet. SES, a public company based in Luxembourg, is a leading supplier of direct-to-home television and radio broadcast services to Europe.

The launch will be broadcast live on Telstar 5, Transponder 24 C-band (USA), and Intelsat K H7 Upper Global Beam in PAL (Europe), starting with test signals at 8:45 p.m. EDT ( 0045 GMT), 18 June 1999. The launch will also be carried throughout Europe on the ASTRA system, Transponder 108.

Notification of a successful launch will occur after spacecraft separation, approximately 6 hours and 43 minutes after liftoff. Launch status updates will be available on the ILS US domestic launch hotline – 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, Calif., USA.

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