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ILS Proton soars to its half-century of launches

International Launch Services (ILS), which provides mission and launch services to the commercial space industry, has successfully carried the W2A satellite to orbit on behalf of Eutelsat Communications of France via a ILS Proton. The Proton vehicle lifted off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome.

The launch of the W2A satellite marks the first ILS launch of the year and constitutes a significant milestone: the 50th commercial launch overall for ILS. The Proton Breeze M vehicle is built by Khrunichev Space Center of Moscow and has a heritage of 344 missions since its inception.

The W2A spacecraft, built by ThalesAleniaSpace, is a Spacebus 4000 C4 model and it carried three payloads, including the first S-band payload for Europe. The W2A C-band and Ku-band payloads for Eutelsat will provide Europe, Africa and the Middle East with an array of professional video and business services. The satellite, the 27th in the Eutelsat fleet, will operate from Eutelsat's 10 degrees East location, an orbital location used by Eutelsat for over 20 years.

Frank McKenna, President of ILS, said, "This 50th ILS launch marked an important milestone for ILS. ILS Proton for W2A met Eutelsat's vital schedule requirements with unique flexibility. This ILS capability ensured the landmark delivery of the first S-band service for Europe. We thank our long term customer Eutelsat for relying on ILS and Proton to contribute to the ongoing success of their business."

Giuliano Berretta, Chairman and CEO of Eutelsat, added, "Eutelsat congratulates ILS on its 50th Proton launch; we are pleased to share the honor of this important occasion. ILS was able to launch within our critical timeframe allowing us to expand and diversify our in-orbit resources. We extend our sincere thanks to ILS and their partner Khrunichev for a professionally executed and successful launch campaign."

* ILS has exclusive rights to market the Proton, Russia's premier heavy-lift vehicle, to commercial satellite operators worldwide. ILS is a US company located in Reston, Virginia, near Washington, DC. Majority owner is Khrunichev Space Center, one of the cornerstones of the Russian space industry and manufacturer of the Proton system.

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