Headlines > News > ILS Closes Out 10th Anniversary Year With 7 Successful Launches, 10 Awards

ILS Closes Out 10th Anniversary Year With 7 Successful Launches, 10 Awards

Published by Sigurd De Keyser on Fri Jan 6, 2006 6:20 pm
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International Launch Services (ILS) wrapped up another outstanding year in 2005, having launched seven times and won contract awards for 10 commercial and government missions.

A joint venture of Lockheed Martin (NYSE:LMT) of the United States and Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Center of Russia, ILS is the most successful American-Russian aerospace partnership.

“We maintained 100 percent success on our Atlas and Proton Breeze M vehicles this year,” said ILS President Mark Albrecht. “We also captured 48 percent of the new government and commercial orders in our addressable market, illustrating the strong demand for our vehicles.”

This is the third consecutive year of double-digit orders for ILS, and the fifth time it has hit that mark in six years. Since its inception, ILS has signed contracts for more than 100 commercial and U.S. government launches, with a total value greater than US$8 billion.

“We have the best launch tempo in the industry,” Albrecht said. “With two independent systems, we can – and do – launch both on the same day. For example, both Atlas and Proton lifted off within five hours of each other last Feb. 3.”

The completed ILS launches utilized various configurations of the Atlas rocket, which extended its string of successful flights to 77, and four flights with the Proton vehicle using the Breeze M upper stage. Proton vehicles also performed three successful missions for the Russian government, for a total of seven flights this year, more than any other single rocket in its class.

The 10 ILS awards were for a mix of Atlas and Proton launches from customers in Europe and North America, including the U.S. government. These include authorization from the U.S. Air Force to proceed with three missions assigned to ILS under the Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) program. Atlas V has a total of 16 EELV assignments.

“We welcomed two new customers with ties to Scandinavia,” Albrecht said. “They are Orbital Sciences Corp. with the Thor II-R satellite it’s building for Telenor of Norway, and SES and its affiliate SES SIRIUS AB of Sweden with its SIRIUS 4 satellite. We also received repeat orders from Inmarsat and DIRECTV, both of whom booked an additional launch after successful missions in 2005.”

ILS has now received contracts to launch every major commercial spacecraft platform, Albrecht said, ranging in mass from Orbital’s 2,450-kg STAR model for Thor II-R to one of the heaviest commercial satellites, the 6,200-kg 702 model built by Boeing Satellite Systems for DIRECTV.

2005 was a triple anniversary year for ILS and its partners. Besides being the 10th year for ILS, it was also the 40th anniversary of the first Proton flight, and the 50th anniversary of the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, from which the Proton vehicles launch.

ILS resulted from the 1995 merger of Lockheed Corp. and Martin Marietta. At the time both companies offered launch vehicles in the intermediate-class market: Lockheed-Khrunichev-Energia International marketed the Proton, and Martin Marietta’s Commercial Launch Services had the Atlas. ILS brought the sales, marketing and mission management responsibilities for both vehicles under a single management team. Because both rockets carry a mix of government and commercial missions, ILS can boast that one or the other of its vehicles is launching nearly every month, on average.

Here’s how the year stacks up statistically for ILS:

  • 7 out of 7 successful launches
  • 4 ILS Proton launches with Breeze M upper stage
  • 13th Proton/Breeze M mission, for a 100 percent success rate
  • In addition, Russian government successfully launched three Protons
  • Proton had highest launch rate of any vehicle in 2005
  • 3 Atlas launches
  • 2 Atlas V
  • 1 Atlas III, retiring this model
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