Image credit: ILS
A Russian-built Proton rocket successfully carried the Intelsat 10-02 satellite into orbit today, marking the sixth mission of the year for International Launch Services (ILS).
The Proton M vehicle lifted off from Baikonur?s Pad 39 at 4:27 a.m. today local time (22:27 Wednesday GMT, 6:27 p.m. Wednesday EDT). The rocket?s Breeze M upper stage injected the spacecraft into a geosynchronous transfer orbit about 9 hours and 10 minutes later. The Intelsat 10-02 satellite will be positioned at 359 degrees East longitude (1 degree West), and will provide video, corporate networking, internet and voice services across Europe, Africa, the Middle East, South America and portions of Asia and North America.
ILS, based in McLean, Va., is a joint venture of Lockheed Martin Corp. (NYSE: LMT) of the United States and Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Center of Russia. ILS was formed to market and manage the missions for the Khrunichev Proton and the Lockheed Martin Atlas launch vehicles. ILS? two vehicle families have successfully launched 32 Intelsat satellites over three decades.
?This was another outstanding mission for Proton,? said ILS President Mark Albrecht. ?The Intelsat 10-02 satellite is not only the largest Eurostar E3000 model spacecraft ever built by EADS Astrium, it also is the largest commercial satellite carried by a Proton vehicle. Clearly, Proton?s accuracy and reliability are the reasons it is a vehicle of choice for customers around the world.?
?This successful launch, celebrated during the year of Intelsat?s 40th anniversary, reinforces our historic commitment to delivering the highest quality communications and technology to our customers throughout the world,? said Conny Kullman, CEO of Intelsat Ltd. ?We are grateful to ILS for its efficiency and hard work, which has resulted in our being able to welcome another high-powered satellite to our global fleet.?
Antoine Bouvier, CEO of EADS Astrium, said, ?This is a major event for EADS Astrium, as Intelsat 10-02 is the second Eurostar E3000 model launched by ILS this year. Intelsat 10-02 is also the largest as well as the most powerful satellite ever ordered by Intelsat.?
This was the first of two launches this month for ILS, with the next mission the launch of a U.S. government payload on an Atlas rocket set for June 30. ILS launch teams have been managing campaigns for the two vehicles continuously since last November.
?Between the two launch sites, we have achieved an incredible launch tempo over the last eight months, with eight consecutive successful campaigns thus far and two more in progress,? Albrecht said. ?We expect to continue at this pace the rest of the year.?
ILS has established itself as the indisputable leader of launch services worldwide and offers the industry’s two best launch systems: Atlas and Proton. With a remarkable launch rate of 64 missions during the past three years, the Atlas and Proton launch vehicles have consistently demonstrated the reliability and flexibility that have made them the vehicles of choice. Further demonstrating ILS as the industry leader, ILS has signed more new contracts than its competitors combined over the same three-year period. For more information, visit www.ilslaunch.com.