WASHINGTON, December 26. /TASS/. A total of 12 Proton rocket launches are due to be carried out next year, including five or six commercial ones, the director of communications and customer relations of the International Launch Services (ILS) said in an interview with TASS on Friday.
The company works on the international market of space services and performs commercial launches of Russian Proton carrier rockets from the Baikonur space center, in Kazakhstan.
Summing up the results of 2014, Karen Rose Monaghan said this year has had its challenges, but it has been an “active year for Proton with respect to the overall number of Proton missions.”
However, most launches were conducted under the auspices of the Russian government and thus, “there were fewer commercial launch opportunities,” she added.
Since 2008, the company has averaged seven commercial launches per year. This year it has launched only two missions during which Turksat 4A satellite and Russia’s Yamal-401 satellite were delivered to the orbit.
A total number of launches of Proton rockets, built by the Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Center, is scheduled to reach eight before the end of the year, including federal missions.
The company faced challenges this year due to “increased competition, geopolitical issues, and unfortunately there was a failure of Proton in May of this year.” “These create concerns for customers and have an impact on our ability to make new sales,” Monaghan said.
The International Launch Services (ILS), based in Reston, Virginia, has been promoting Protons on the international market of space services over the past 20 years and has made more than 80 Proton launches.
The 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 is considered as a subsidiary of the Khrunichev center.