ILS win contracts with Arabsat and SES

by Chris Bergin

International Launch Services (ILS) are filling up their order books with another Arabsat contract, after winning the contract to launch a fifth-generation satellite for the middle east company.

The following day – Monday – ILS and SES Satellite Leasing also announced a contract that calls for the launch of five SES satellites on Proton Breeze M vehicles through 2013.



The contract is for either Arabsat-5A or BADR-5, with the launch taking place in the 2009-2010 timeframe on a Proton Breeze M vehicle from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

A consortium of EADS Astrium and Thales Alenia Space is building the satellites and is responsible for delivering the satellites in orbit. EADS Astrium will supply the Eurostar E3000 platforms and integrate the satellites. Thales Alenia Space will design and build the communications payloads.

The awarding of this contract follows ILS’ recent success with the launch of the BADR-4 satellite for Arabsat – a company backed by the 21-member countries of the Arab League, with a 30-year heritage of continuous operations – last November.

‘With the successful launch of Arabsat’s BADR-4 satellite on a Proton last November, ILS is again honored to be selected to provide Arabsat launch capability to fuel continued growth in this exciting region,’ said ILS President Frank McKenna.

Arabsat-5A will have a launch mass of 4,800 kg. The multi-payload satellite will replace Arabsat-2B, which is reaching the end of its service life. Arabsat-5A will provide additional capacity for a comprehensive range of satellite communications services over sub-Saharan Africa, North Africa and the Middle East, and beyond.
BADR-5 will have a launch mass of 5,400 kg. It will primarily provide full in-orbit backup capacity for BADR-4 and BADR-6 television services. Complementary missions include supporting the expected boom of HDTV and, thanks to its Ka-band capacity, the development of sophisticated interactive services.
On Monday, ILS announced the deal with SES, which calls for Proton flights to be available to SES’ operating companies: SES AMERICOM, SES ASTRA, SES NEW SKIES and SES SIRIUS. The first mission is expected to be in 2009.

“The real value in this unique multibuy contract is the flexibility it offers SES, in terms of matching payloads and launch periods,” added McKenna.

ILS – who are joint venture of Space Transport Inc., Khrunichev and RSC Energia – has carried out 40 commercial launches on Proton since the joint venture with Khrunichev was formed in 1993. The Proton vehicle is Russia’s premier heavy-lift launcher, and has carried out many historic missions in its 42 years of service.

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