SAN DIEGO, Feb. 15, 1999 – A Proton rocket lifted off from Baikonur Cosmodrome in the Republic of Kazakhstan at 10:12 a.m. Baikonur time this morning (12:12 a.m. EST) carrying Loral Skynet’s Telstar 6 communications satellite to geosynchronous transfer orbit.
The launch was the first successful commercial Proton mission of the year and the eighth successful commercial Proton launch 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.
A combined Russian and American team including engineers and technicians from ILS, Khrunichev, Space Systems/Loral and the Russian Strategic Missile 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 6 will be operated by Loral Skynet, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Loral Space & Communications. From its final orbital position at 93 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 6 launch was the first ILS launch on Proton this year. Proton is also the primary heavy-lift system for the launch of Russian government satellites.
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.