4th Launch in 3 Months For ILS
BAIKONUR COSMODROME, Kazakhstan--(BUSINESS WIRE)--May 7, 2002--The DIRECTV-5 satellite, built by Space Systems/Loral (SSL), was successfully carried into orbit today by a Russian-built Proton rocket, marking the fourth mission of the year for International Launch Services (ILS).
The Proton K vehicle lifted off from Baikonur's Pad 24 at 11 p.m. today local time (17:00 GMT, 1 p.m. EDT). The rocket's Block DM upper stage deposited the spacecraft into a geosynchronous transfer orbit about 6 hours and 32 minutes later. The satellite is a 1300 model built by SSL of Palo Alto, Calif., who arranged for this launch.
DIRECTV-5 will be positioned at 119 degrees West longitude to provide entertainment programming and broadband services to the United States. This is the seventh satellite in DIRECTV Inc.'s constellation of DIRECTV and DBS satellites.
"ILS's vehicles and Loral's line of spacecraft have a history spanning more than two decades," said ILS President Mark Albrecht. "We thank Space Systems/Loral for its continued confidence." DIRECTV-5 is the eighth Loral-built satellite to fly on Proton. In addition, ILS's other vehicle, the Lockheed Martin Atlas, has launched 21 Loral-built spacecraft.
ILS, based in McLean, Va., is a joint venture of Lockheed Martin Corp. (NYSE:LMT - news) and two Russian companies, Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Center and RSC Energia of Moscow. ILS was formed to market and manage the missions for the Proton and Atlas vehicles.
With two independent, highly reliable vehicles and two dedicated launch sites, ILS pioneered the concept of Mutual Backup, thus assuring satellites will be launched on schedule. Albrecht noted that this DIRECTV/Loral mission was the first to take advantage of that capability. "Due to modifications made on the satellite, it was not ready for its original launch date on Atlas," he explained. "We are committed to launching our customers' spacecraft when they are ready. So to accommodate this mission while keeping our commitments to other customers, we moved the DIRECTV satellite to Proton."
This was the fourth launch since Feb. 21 for ILS. The next scheduled ILS mission is the launch of another Loral-built satellite, EchoStar VIII, on another Proton K/Block DM. For more information, visit Proton Rocket | Commercial Launch | Sales & Mission Management