SAN DIEGO, May 24, 1997 – A Proton rocket blasted into space from Baikonur Cosmodrome in the Republic of Kazakhstan at 11:00 p.m. Baikonur time tonight (1:00 p.m. EDT) carrying Loral Skynet’s TELSTAR 5 communications satellite to geosynchronous transfer orbit.
The launch was the second successful commercial mission to be carried out under the auspices of International Launch Services (ILS), the joint venture stock company owned by Lockheed Khrunichev Energia International (LKEI) and Lockheed Martin Commercial Launch Services, to provide launch services on the Russian-built Proton.
“We are most pleased to have orbited the TELSTAR 5 satellite tonight for Loral Space & Communciations and their subsidiary Space Systems/Loral,” said Charles H. Lloyd, ILS President. “Loral was the first satellite builder to sign with Proton through our joint venture, so the successful launch for them is of particular satisfaction to us.”
A combined Russian and American team including engineers and technicians from ILS, Khrunichev, Space Systems/Loral and the Russian Space Forces was responsible for processing the satellite, readying the launch vehicle and conducting the launch. Proton is built by Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Center at its factory near Moscow. The fourth stage is built by RSC Energia also near Moscow.
TELSTAR 5 will be operated by Loral Skynet, a wholly owned subsidiary of Loral Space & Communications. From its final orbital position at 97 degrees West longitude, it will provide video and data transmission services to the continental U.S., Puerto Rico, the Caribbean, and into Canada and Latin America.
The Proton/TELSTAR 5 launch was the first of six scheduled ILS launches this year. Proton is also the primary heavy-lift system for Russian government launches as well as selected commercial launches that were secured by Khrunichev before the advent of ILS.
ILS is a joint venture stock 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 Commercial Launch Services and the Lockheed Khrunichev Energia International joint venture. ILS is headquartered in San Diego, CA, USA.