International Launch Services (ILS) at the World Space Risk Forum 2010 in Dubai, March 1-3
The three-day World Space Risk Forum in Dubai brought together industry leaders from all over the world to exchange ideas and develop solutions of mutual interest in the areas of risk management and insurance of space risks. During the forum, ILS Vice President and Chief Technical Officer, James Bonner, participated as a panelist with other key leaders in the commercial satellite and launch market, speaking on the subject of “Technical Developments in the Space Industry”. Frank McKenna, ILS president, also attended the forum. The following is a summary of the issues and topics that were discussed during the panel presentation.
Quality Management System—System in Place and Showing Results
The implementation the three phased Quality Management System (QMS) at Khrunichev has resulted in 46 separate quality initiatives that have been fully implemented. The QMS also includes ongoing briefings to space insurance underwriters in a long-term effort to improve communications and receive direct feedback. ILS’s commitment to performance has been underscored with the QMS in place. Since the return to flight of Inmarsat 4F3 in August 2008, this has been demonstrated with each and every launch since.
On the QMS and resulting improvements, Jim Bonner said, “Successful risk mitigation, when introducing launch vehicle changes, begins and ends with quality. That is, quality of design, manufacture and test. Khrunichev has incorporated 39 enhancements in the Proton launch system with 100 percent flight success. Further improvement in quality as a result of the quality initiative has accounted for 20 consecutive flight successes. These initiatives will further benefit the introduction of the Phase IV enhancements to be introduced in 2012.”
ILS President Frank McKenna also commented on Proton’s performance, noting a launch that took place during the conference. “On March 3, Proton further demonstrated its outstanding performance record with 20 launches in 20 months with the launch of a three Glonass-M satellites,”said McKenna. “With Proton, we have the benefit of the highest production and launch rate in the industry, supporting 7-8 commercial and 3-5 Federal missions each year. And with the Quality Management System showing measurable results, this translates to unmatched value, flexibility and reliability for all of our customers,” he added.
Phase IV Proton represents the next step in this measured evolutionary product development and will result in 6.3 metric tons of performance to GTO.The fundamentals of the program are increased reliability, producibility and increased performance. Phase IV meets all of those requirements and relies on an extension of existing technologies in avionics, and high strength materials and investment in high accuracy tooling . The Phase IV capability will be available in for launches in 2012. A specific mission has not yet been designed for the first flight of Phase IV.
ILS Proton Duo
The ILS/Proton Duo capability and configuration was explained in detail at the conference. This capability was developed in direct response to the demand from operators for a more cost-effective way to deliver small to medium spacecraft to orbit. Proton has a proven track record of launching multiple spacecraft to different orbits successfully (with the Iridium, Glonass, Express, Cosmos and Raduga spacecraft). The ILS/Proton Duo is currently offered for paired missions with a single customer. The capability is being offered for launch of two Orbital Sciences satellites and the first launch of ILS/Proton Duo is anticipated in early 2012
In preparation for ILS Duo, capital expenditures will be made to the processing facilities at Baikonur to support two satellites being processed for one launch. For the Proton, this Duo configuration does not require any vehicle modifications, as the standard adapters and separations systems will be utilized.
ILS Duo is offered as an adjunct to our primary, dedicated launch capability for customers with small to medium size spacecraft.