SAN DIEGO, Nov. 4, 1998 – A Proton rocket blasted into space this morning from Baikonur Cosmodrome in the Republic of Kazakhstan at 10:12 a.m (9:12 p.m. USA PST, Nov. 3) carrying PanAmSat Corporation’s PAS-8 communications satellite to geosynchronous transfer orbit.
The launch was the seventh 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, to provide commercial launch services on the Russian-built Proton.
A combined Russian and American team including engineers and technicians from ILS, Khrunichev, PanAmSat, 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.
The Proton/PAS-8 launch was the third ILS launch on Proton this year. All have been successful. PAS-8 is owned and operated by PanAmSat, one of the world’s leading commercial providers of satellite-based communications services. From its final orbital position at 166 degrees East, PAS-8 will provide advanced video and telecommunications services throughout the Asia-Pacific region.
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, Calif.