MOSCOW, June 18, 1999 – A Proton rocket blasted into space this morning from Baikonur Cosmodrome in the Republic of Kazakhstan at 7:49:30 a.m (9:49:30 p.m. USA EDT, June 17) carrying the ASTRA 1H satellite to geosynchronous transfer orbit.

The launch was the eleventh successful commercial Proton 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.

ASTRA 1H will be operated by Societe Europienne des Satellites (SES), a leading provider of television, radio and new media services in Europe. The spacecraft is the ninth satellite in the ASTRA constellation. It will be the eighth to be positioned at 19.2 degrees East longitude. This was the fourth successful launch for SES to be carried out on a commercial Proton.

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. The satellite was built by Hughes Space and Communications Company of El Segundo, CA, USA. Engineers and technicians from ILS, Khrunichev, SES, Hughes and the Russian Strategic Rocket Forces were responsible for processing the satellite, readying the launch vehicle and conducting the launch.

The Proton/ASTRA 1H launch was the fourth ILS commercial launch on Proton to be carried out 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 formation 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, Calif., USA.

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