International Launch Services (ILS) and EchoStar of Englewood, Colorado, announced the ILS Proton launch of the EchoStar XVI satellite scheduled for 2012.
EchoStar XVI, weighing over 6600 kg, will be launched into geostationary orbit on an ILS Proton Breeze M carrying 32 Ku-band transponders to support EchoStar's DISH Network. The satellite is being built by Space Systems/Loral utilizing the space-proven 1300 platform with an anticipated service lifetime of 15 years. EchoStar XVI will be located at EchoStar's 61.5 degrees West orbital location to provide expanded services, including HD programming, for DISH Network's more than 14 million direct-to-home television subscribers in the United States.
The Proton vehicle is Russia's premier heavy lift launcher and is built by Khrunichev Research and Space Production Center of Moscow. Khrunichev is the majority owner of ILS and one of the pillars of the Russian space industry. Proton has a long heritage with over 360 launches performed since its inaugural flight in 1965. To date, there have been four EchoStar satellites launched on ILS Proton.
LS President Frank McKenna said, "Last March we launched the heaviest satellite to date with EchoStar XIV. This was a significant accomplishment for the high performing ILS Proton vehicle as well as a testament to our partnership with EchoStar. With this new assignment of EchoStar XVI, ILS and Khrunichev look forward to delivering the same quality, schedule assurance and value that EchoStar and its customer DISH Network rely upon."
"ILS has been a key player in our successful expansion of our offerings and services for EchoStar and our customer, DISH Network with flawless launches on ILS Proton. We are extremely pleased to have another launch on ILS Proton with EchoStar XVI and look forward to collaborating with the ILS and Khrunichev team on the upcoming mission," said Vice President of Space Programs for EchoStar, Rohan Zaveri.
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