ILS sign contract for Proton launch of Canada’s Nimiq 5

by Chris Bergin

International Launch Services (ILS) will launch its sixth satellite for Telesat Canada on a Proton Breeze M vehicle, following the signing of contracts for the 2009 launch of Nimiq 5 communications satellite.

The 2009 launch will be from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, adding to the 2008 launch of Telesat’s Nimiq 4. ILS have already signed three new satellite launch contracts in 2007.


Today’s announcement follows the successful launch April 10 of Telesat’s Anik F3 satellite by the ILS Proton Breeze M vehicle. Telesat also used Proton vehicles to launch Nimiq 1 in 1999, Nimiq 2 in 2002 and Anik F1R in 2005.

‘Telesat is a valued customer, as well as one of the world’s leading satellite operators, and we’re pleased to be chosen to partner with Telesat to expand its services,’ said ILS President Frank McKenna. ‘We are focusing on performance, because we believe that performance builds customer confidence and paves the way for long-term relationships.’

Nimiq 5 will operate at 72.7 degrees West longitude, carrying a wide range of high-definition and specialty direct-to-home television services. Space Systems/Loral is building the high-power, 32-transponder Ku-band spacecraft.

‘We are extremely pleased to be working with International Launch Services again. We have a long and successful history together,’ said Dan Goldberg, Telesat’s president and CEO. ‘ILS offered Telesat the right combination of quality, reliability, experience and value, and we look forward to working with their team on the important Nimiq 5 launch campaign.’

It’s been a busy start to 2007 for ILS, who signed a deal in February with EchoStar Communications Corporation (DISH) for the launch of another – as yet un-named – satellite that will be added to their media communications fleet. That followed just a week after ILS signed the launch contract for Ciel-2 satellite. All the satellites will launch on the Proton.

The Proton vehicle has carried out 325 missions for the Russian government and commercial customers over more than 40 years. The Proton vehicle is built by
ILS’ Russian partner, Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Center.

ILS is a joint venture of Space Transport Inc., Khrunichev and RSC Energia. ILS is incorporated in Delaware in the United States, and is headquartered in McLean, Va., a suburb of Washington, D.C. This month’s Anik F3 launch marked the 40th mission for ILS.

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