ILS announces orders for ‘improved’ Proton rocket

Russian-owned International Launch Services (ILS) and which takes care of the commercial aspects of the Proton rocket launch system, says it has won “additional” orders for the latest version of the Proton rocket.

The Proton Medium launch vehicle is an optimized 2-stage version of the classic Proton Breeze M vehicle. The medium class rocket serves lighter weight satellites in the 3.5 to 6 Metric Ton range with the capability to launch single, dual or multiple satellites to a variety of orbits. The Proton Medium vehicle utilises either the 5.2 or 4.35 metre payload fairing with the benefits of the standard, flight-proven Proton Breeze M configuration and spacecraft insertion history.

The orders were announced at the Satellite 2018 show in Washington, DC.

The new missions will take place beginning in late 2019 from Pad 24 at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

This variant of the larger Proton (with Briz-M upper stage) rocket is a direct competitor to SpaceX and also to the Soyuz and Vega rockets on offer by Arianespace to its clients.

“Since its introduction in the autumn of 2016, and following the first firm launch order for the vehicle at that time, the Proton Medium has continued to gain traction and interest in the marketplace,” said Kirk Pysher, President/ILS. “Customers continue to look for vehicles that are right-sized for new-generation missions but also provide compelling value and launch vehicle diversity.” Pysher continued, “We look forward to the upcoming launches starting next year.”

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