USA: International Launch Services (ILS), a U.S.-based global commercial launch services provider, is inaugurating a new era in its 25-plus-year history, and in the life of the historic Proton M launch vehicle, company officials have declared.
“We have a lot to celebrate today,” said ILS President Kirk Pysher, noting his announcement coincides with Cosmonautics Day, a holiday marked in Russia and around the world. “We have undertaken a significantly new approach to how we will operate going forward. This signals a new era for our company and for this robust, reliable vehicle that has successfully launched 418 times.”
“ILS is redoubling its commitment to serving the satellite industry with flexible, affordable launch solutions, first and foremost by bringing pricing squarely in line with our customers’ needs,” Pysher added. He said cost savings have been achieved through benefits realized from quality improvement initiatives coupled with significantly lower production and launch site costs. These significant cost savings have been achieved through the great teamwork of Glavkosmos, ILS, Khrunichev and its team of subcontractors, under the supervision of Roscosmos State Corporation.
In its new incarnation, ILS will now operate under the auspices of Glavkosmos, a long-standing commercial subsidiary of Roscosmos State Corporation. “Glavkosmos is pleased to welcome ILS under our operating umbrella with their quarter-century of commercial launch experience,” said Glavkosmos General Director Dmitry Loskutov. “Through tighter and more integrated administration of launch services we will be able to provide a better product, more services, and at a price responsive to customers’ needs. This is part of our industry’s path back to being a major contributor in global commercial space launch.”
Under the Glavkosmos umbrella, ILS will offer Proton in parallel with GK Launch Services, which provides the famed Soyuz-2 vehicle. “The new generation of Soyuz launchers features high reliability, multi-functionality, and eco-friendliness,” said GK Launch Services CEO Alexander Serkin. “The Soyuz 2.1a and Soyuz 2.1b versions offer a wide range of light and medium class missions that complement the heavier-lift Proton launch vehicle and we look forward to working with ILS to expand the opportunities and offerings to our commercial customers.”
“Our collaborative objective is to offer a one-stop shop for our customers’ varying launch needs,” Pysher said. “By working under the Glavkosmos umbrella and with GK Launch, we can offer a broader and more flexible set of strategic launch agreements that will provide our customers with value-added options such as backup agreements for schedule assurance and multiple launch vehicle solutions for those complex projects requiring delivery of satellites to different orbits.”
Pysher also noted that ILS will broaden its commercial activities as the North American marketing unit for Glavkosmos to expand sales of equipment and services from leading enterprises of the Russian space industry.