SAN DIEGO, May 20, 1997 – International Launch Services (ILS) announced today that a combined Russian and American team is conducting final preparations to launch a Proton rocket on May 24 with Loral Skynet’s TELSTAR 5 communications satellite aboard. The rocket is scheduled to lift off from Baikonur Cosmodrome in the Republic of Kazakhstan at 1:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time on Saturday, May 24 (11:00 p.m. Baikonur time). 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 Space Systems/Loral at its factilities in Palo Alto, CA, and is based on its FS-1300 bus design.

This will be the first of six planned ILS commercial launches on Proton this year, after the successful commercial debut of Proton that took place in April of last year carrying the ASTRA 1F European broadcast satellite. Proton continues to be the primary heavy lifter for Russian government payloads as well as selected commercial launches that were secured by Khrunichev before the advent of ILS.

Once on orbit, TELSTAR 5 will be operated by Loral Skynet, a wholly owned subsidiary of Loral Space & Communications based in New York. From its orbital location at 97 degrees West, it will provide video and data transmission services throughout the continental U.S., Puerto Rico, the Caribbean, and into Canada and Latin America.

The launch will be broadcast live on Telstar 402, Channel 1, starting at 12:30 p.m. EDT (test signals at 12:15 p.m.) and concluding at 1:30 p.m. EDT. Notification of a successful launch will not occur until spacecraft separation, approximately 6 hours and 41 minutes after liftoff. Launch status updates will be available on the ILS 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 Corporation Commercial Launch Services and the Lockheed Khrunichev Energia International joint venture. ILS is headquartered in San Diego, CA, USA.

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