SAN DIEGO, Aug. 28, 1997 – A Proton rocket blasted into space this morning from Baikonur Cosmodrome in the Republic of Kazakhstan at 6:33 a.m (8:33 p.m. EDT, Aug. 27) carrying PanAmSat Corporation’s PAS-5 communications satellite to geosynchronous transfer orbit.
The launch was the third 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 commercial launch services on the Russian-built Proton.
“With our third commercial Proton launch, we are well on our way to demonstrating the launch rate we have targeted since the beginning of our program,” said Charles H. Lloyd, President of ILS. “Once again, we have accomplished mission success for our PanAmSat customer due to the outstanding international cooperation from our Russian partners and the American companies involved in this important launch.”
A combined Russian and American team including engineers and technicians from ILS, Khrunichev, PanAmSat, Hughes 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.
PAS-5 will be operated by PanAmSat, one of the leading providers of global satellite-based communications services. From its final orbital position at 58 degrees West, PAS-5 will transmit direct-to-home television services to Mexico and provide video distribution and telecommunications services to the Americas with access to Europe.
The Proton/PAS-5 launch was the second 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 Corp. Commercial Launch Services and the Lockheed Khrunichev Energia International joint venture. ILS is headquartered in San Diego, CA, USA.