A Proton rocket
successfully launched the ASTRA 2C broadcasting satellite this morning in
the second mission in a month conducted by International Launch Services

Liftoff occurred at 7:49 a.m. local time (1:49 GMT, 9:49 p.m. EDT June 15)
carrying ASTRA 2C to geosynchronous transfer orbit. Spacecraft separation
occurred at 2:44 p.m. Baikonur time.

“We celebrate another excellent launch for Proton and Sociètè Europèenne des
Satellites (SES),” said ILS President Mark Albrecht. “An ASTRA satellite was
the first commercial customer for Proton, in April 1996, and I’m pleased
that we have maintained our perfect record through five ASTRA launches. We
look forward to repeating our success when Proton launches ASTRA 1K toward
the end of this year.”

Albrecht added, “With Proton’s inventory of vehicles and rapid launch tempo,
and our launch team’s familiarity with this customer and the Boeing 601HP
satellite model, we were able to provide SES an Express Launch.”

Romain Bausch, director general and chairman of the Management Committee of
Luxembourg-based SES, said: “This 12th consecutive ASTRA launch success is
the result of a track-proven, highly professional collaboration between ILS’
U.S.-Russian satellite launch experts, Boeing’s satellite manufacturing
specialists, and SES’ own dedicated technical team, all of which deserve to
be thanked for their efforts. Their combined know-how and flawless teamwork
has once again ensured that Proton has served ASTRA right up to

ASTRA 2C is the 12th satellite in the ASTRA constellation. Due to its
coverage area and flexibility in the combination of uplink and downlink
frequencies, the spacecraft is compatible with operations at both of SES’
orbital positions of 19.2* East and 28.2* East. ASTRA 2C thereby complements
SES’ comprehensive intersatellite protection scheme at both orbital
locations. The spacecraft was built by Boeing Satellite Systems Inc. to
provide pan-European coverage via 32 transponders at Ku-band.

This launch was the 21st commercial Proton mission to be carried out under
the auspices of ILS since the U.S.-Russian joint venture was created in
1995. It also was the second ILS mission of the year. Proton successfully
launched the PAS-10 satellite May 15.

The ILS partners are Lockheed Martin Corp. of the United States,
manufacturer of the Altas rocket, and Russian companies Khrunichev State
Research and Production Space Center and RSC Energia, who produce the Proton

The SES Group operates a satellite services network providing seamless
broadband communications spanning four continents. Based in Luxembourg,
Sociètè Europèenne des Satellites S.A. (Luxembourg Stock Exchange: SES;
Frankfurt Exchange: SDSL) is the operator of ASTRA, Europe’s leading
direct-to-home satellite system, and a strategic shareholder in premier
satellite operations like AsiaSat (34.10%), NSAB in Scandinavia (50%), and
Star One in Latin America (19.99%). On March 28, 2001, SES announced the
acquisition of 100% of U.S. operator GE Americom in a $ 5 billion
transaction (subject to regulatory approval). To that effect, SES has
created SES Global S.A., which will hold all SES Group participations.

ILS offers the broadest range of launcher products in the world along with
the highest reliability in the industry. It provides launch services on the
American Atlas and Russian Proton launch vehicles to customers worldwide,
including technical, management and marketing expertise.

ILS’ three-stage Proton and the available Breeze M upper stage are produced
by Khrunichev at its factory near Moscow. The alternative Block DM fourth
stage used in this mission is built by Energia, also near Moscow. The Atlas
rockets and their Centaur upper stages are built by Lockheed Martin Space
Systems Company-Astronautics Operations at facilities in Denver, Colorado;
Harlingen, Texas; and San Diego, California.