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Proton Launches AMC-15 Satellite.

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Proton launch vehicle.
Russian Proton launch vehicle.

A Russian Proton rocket launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome yesterday evening, carrying the AMC-15 broadcast satellite into orbit. The rocket lifted off at 2123 UTC (5:23 pm EDT), and the satellite separated from the Breeze M upper stage about 7 hours later. AMC-15 is a Lockheed Martin A2100 satellite that will transmit from 105-degrees West, and deliver broadcast services to all 50 states.

A Russian Proton launch vehicle placed the AMC-15 satellite into orbit this morning, marking the ninth mission of the year for International Launch Services (ILS).

The Proton lifted off at 3:23 a.m. today in Baikonur (5:23 p.m. Thursday EDT, 21:23 Thursday GMT), with spacecraft separation from the Breeze M upper stage nearly seven hours later, at 10:18 a.m. (12:18 a.m. EDT, 4:18 GMT).

ILS is a joint venture of Lockheed Martin [NYSE:LMT] and Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Center of Russia. ILS markets and manages the missions on the Proton vehicle and on the American Atlas rocket.

"We thank SES AMERICOM for launching again with ILS," said ILS President Mark Albrecht. "This makes three for three, with two to go this year for this customer. I’m proud of our long-standing relationship with AMERICOM and its parent company, SES GLOBAL. And it’s good to be involved with EchoStar again as well, which has launched several dedicated satellites with ILS before teaming with SES AMERICOM on AMC-15."

AMC-15, an A2100 model satellite built by Lockheed Martin Commercial Space Systems, carries both Ku- and Ka-band payloads. SES AMERICOM’s customer for this satellite is EchoStar’s DISH Network direct-to-home service.

ILS started its launch year in February by orbiting the AMC-10 satellite on an Atlas vehicle, and it launched AMC-11 in May on another Atlas. The two remaining AMERICOM payloads are set for December launches, with AMC-16 satellite on an Atlas V vehicle and WorldSat 2 on another Proton vehicle.

Dany Harel, SES AMERICOM vice president for satellite and space systems, said: "This Proton Breeze M launch was picture-perfect in the darkened skies over Kazakhstan, and on spec as we monitored every stage. We thank the ILS team for delivering AMC-15 into transfer orbit. Now we and our Lockheed Martin spacecraft partners can get the satellite ready for service to our customer, EchoStar, by December."

ILS is the global leader in launch services, offering the industry's two best launch systems: Atlas and Proton. With a remarkable launch rate of 67 missions since 2000, the Atlas and Proton launch vehicles have consistently demonstrated the reliability and flexibility that have made them preferred choice among satellite operators worldwide. Since the beginning of 2003, ILS has signed more new commercial contracts than all of its competitors combined. ILS was formed in 1995, and is based in McLean, Va., a suburb of Washington, D.C.

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