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WASHINGTON, December 26. /TASS/. The West’s sanctions against Russia have not hampered the operations of the International Launch Services (ILS), which performs commercial launches of Proton rockets from the Baikonur space center, the company’s director of communications and customer relations told TASS in an interview.
The sanctions introduced against Russia amid the Ukrainian crisis “have not had a direct impact on our business, some customers have concerns over the situation and have been temporarily cautious about placing new business,” Karen Rose Monaghan said.
Monaghan said the company has all the necessary US State Department authorizations in place to execute all manifested launches of communications satellites with US-manufactured components.
Answering a question whether the dire economic situation in Russia is a factor in the company’s work, Monaghan said: “It is a factor, but there are some positives for ILS.”
“Since launch services are predominantly denominated in US dollars and Proton costs are in rubles, the weakening in the ruble has given ILS some limited flexibility in setting dollar prices in such a way as to address the near term market conditions,” she said.
Proton is considered a “valuable export and brings in a significant amount of currency to the economy in Russia,” she stressed. The value of all commercial contracts signed over 20 years of partnership with Mocsow-based Khrunichev Space Center with ILS has exceeded $7.5 billion.
The International Launch Services (ILS), a US-Russian joint venture was established in 1995 between the Khrunichev center and the US Lockheed Martin (LM) corporation, which later sold its ownership interests.
The company, based in Reston, Virginia, has made more than 80 commercial Proton launches from Baikonur space center, in Kazakhstan, over the past 20 years.