International Launch Services (ILS) announces three awards as it kicks off its participation this week in a satellite industry conference in Washington, D.C.

“Right out of the chute, we announced awards from returning customers and had a fantastically successful Atlas V launch with NASA’s New Horizons mission to Pluto – and there are 11 months to go in 2006,” said Mark Albrecht, ILS president. A joint venture of Lockheed Martin of Bethesda, Md., and Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Center of Moscow, ILS markets and manages satellite launch missions on the American Atlas and Russian Proton vehicles.

ILS could launch as many as nine satellites this year, Albrecht said, noting that only three weeks remain before the next ILS mission. That will be a Proton Breeze M launch for EADS Astrium with the ARABSAT 4A satellite, scheduled for Feb. 28/March 1. The first ILS mission was the New Horizons launch on Jan. 19, using the top-of-the-line Lockheed Martin Atlas V-551 configuration with 2.5 million pounds of thrust.

The three Proton awards announced are the following:

  • Telesat will launch its Nimiq 4 satellite in 2008, for its fifth flight with ILS.
  • JSAT became the first Japanese operator to use a Russian vehicle when it scheduled its JCSAT-11 satellite on Proton for 2007. JSAT launched three previous satellites on Atlas vehicles.
  • Sirius Satellite Radio has purchased a spot for spacecraft launch prior to December 2010. Its three in-orbit satellites were all launched by Proton in 2000.

International Launch Services is the global leader in the space launch industry, offering the two best systems: Atlas and Proton. With a remarkable launch tempo, the Atlas and Proton vehicles have consistently demonstrated the reliability and flexibility that have made them the preferred choice among satellite operators worldwide. ILS was formed in 1995, and is based in McLean, Va., a suburb of Washington, D.C.

Lockheed Martin employs about 135,000 people worldwide and is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture and integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services. The corporation reported 2005 sales of $37.2 billion.