By Robert Briel
Published: September 6, 2010 08.08 Europe/London

International Launch Services (ILS) and SES have announced the extension of the SES Multi Launch Agreement to December 31, 2014 and the addition of a sixth firm ILS Proton mission through 2014. The MLA was signed in June 2007 between ILS and SES Satellite Leasing Limited, SES’s satellite procurement and leasing company in the Isle of Man.

The first SES launch under the MLA was the successful ILS Proton launch of SES-1 on April 24, 2010. In addition, two of the four SES missions scheduled in 2011 and 2012 for the launches of the SES-3, SES-4, QuetzSat-1 and SES-5/ASTRA 4B satellites will be part of the MLA. The remaining three MLA missions will be assigned as needed and in principle cover the 2012 – 2014 time frame. In addition, Proton will provide back-up launch capability for SES missions in 2011 as part of the increased flexibility and improved schedule assurances under the Multi Launch Agreement.

The Proton vehicle, built by ILS majority owner Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Center, is Russia’s premier heavy-lift launcher and has a heritage of 359 flights since the 1960s.

Frank McKenna, president of ILS, stated: “SES had the foresight, several years ago, to create this innovative agreement to provide launch diversity and schedule assurance for the majority of their launch needs. With this agreement, SES has taken a sound business approach, in the form of a partnership, to create flexible arrangements to deploy their fleet. This expansion of the MLA further underscores the confidence that SES has in ILS Proton. With these new missions, the ILS and Khrunichev team look forward to delivering the same quality and reliability that SES has counted on for 15 years.”

Romain Bausch, president and CEO of SES, concurred. “The Multi Launch Agreement has allowed us to support the continuous development and replacement of our global satellite fleet, giving us an additional competitive edge. With ILS, we have a long history together and we look forward to continue the collaborating with the ILS and Khrunichev teams on Proton in the framework of the extended agreement.”