SAN JOSE, Calif., Feb. 1, 1995 – Societe Europienne des Satellites (SES) confirmed last week that the ASTRA 1F Satellite will be launched on a Lockheed-Khrunichev-Energia International, Inc. (LKEI), Russian Proton launch vehicle in March 1996. The 1F satellite will be capable of delivering digital compressed signals for Direct-to-Home (DTH) and cable TV reception. SES has also reserved other options with LKEI for future satellite launches.
SES’s selection of Proton for the launch of ASTRA 1F together with recent selections of Proton by other customers reflects the communication industry’s growing confidence in the Proton launch vehicle. Proton performed 13 successful launches out of 13 attempts during 1994 — the most successful launch record of any commercial rocket worldwide.
This record matches Proton’s launch records of 1984, 1987 and 1988. Proton achieved the 1994 success rate while operating with only one active launch pad for three quarters of the year. In September, a second launch pad was activated. Since that time, Proton has launched at a rate of one launch every two and one-half weeks. Proton is the only commercial launch vehicle in the world which has demonstrated a capability of launching more than ten times successfully in a one year period.
“SES is the premiere private satellite company in Europe and we are very pleased to play an integral role in their future in digital direct broadcasting,” said LKEI President Charles H. Lloyd.
LKEI is a joint venture responsible for the worldwide sales and program management of Proton launch services. LKEI is an affiliate of the United States’ Lockheed Missiles & Space Company (LMSC) and Russia’s Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Center and RSC Energia.
Formation of the LKEI joint venture was completed in early 1993 following authorization from the U.S. and Russian Governments. LKEI provides launch vehicle services with proven Russian technology and American systems management experience. The success of the joint venture also supports increased business cooperation between the United States and the Russian Federation.