AsiaSat commits to ILS

International Launch Services (ILS) has picked up the contract for the launch of AsiaSatís next satellite, AsiaSat 5. The contract had previously been with Boeing-owned Sea Launch, which could not meet AsiaSatís launch timetable.

The satellite is under construction by Space Systems/Loral in Palo Alto, California, and is expected to be delivered to the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan early this summer. ILS and Khrunichev are implementing a mission integration schedule to support a Q3-2009 launch.

AsiaSat 5 will replace AsiaSat 2 at the orbital location of 100.5 degrees East. The new AsiaSat 5 will offer an enhanced pan-Asian C-band footprint and high-power Ku-band beams over East Asia, South Asia, and an in-orbit steerable Ku beam. The satellite is a Space Systems/Loral 1300 platform, designed for a lifespan of 15 years. The station-keeping lifetime of the satellite should be greatly improved due to the available performance of the Proton launch vehicle.

Frank McKenna, President of ILS said: ďThis was truly a win-win situation. Due to another customerís change in plans we have hardware and manifest availability to support AsiaSatís schedule needs. ILS is dedicated to providing our long-term customer, AsiaSat, with outstanding launch services and on-time delivery with Proton in the third quarter of this year.Ē

AsiaSatís CEO Peter Jackson said: ďWith this launch opportunity with ILS, we are setting forth a strategy to launch AsiaSat 5 in keeping with our planned replacement program for AsiaSat 2. ILS Proton offers us the schedule assurance that we need to ensure continuity of service to our customers at the orbital location of 100.5 degrees East.Ē