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MOSCOW, January 16. /TASS/. The International Launch Services’ (ILS) order portfolio for commercial launches of foreign spacecraft by Russia’s Proton carrier rocket has been completed for two years ahead, Russian United Rocket and Space Corporation (URSC) sources told TASS on Friday.
“The ILS order portfolio has been worked out until 2017, the cost is a commercial secret,” the company’s press service said, declining to specify the number of contracted launches.
ILS said that five commercial launches are planned for 2015. The first of them is scheduled for the first quarter of the year. Previous reports said it would be the Inmarsat-5 F2 satellite to be orbited.
ILS Proton Launch Services uses the Proton-M/ Briz M launch vehicle to launch and orbit commercial spacecraft. The Proton-M/ Briz M launcher is the latest evolution of the Proton launch vehicle that dates back to the initial launch in May 1965. The first rocket was flown for a Russian federal mission in April 2001, and the first commercial Proton-M/ Briz M vehicle was flown in December 2002 with the NIMIQ 2 satellite for Telesat.
Proton launch vehicles are designed and built by the Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Center within its facility near Moscow. Khrunichev holds the controlling stake in ILS. The Khrunichev facility is home to all engineering, assembly and test functions of the Proton launcher. With the recent consolidation of Russian space enterprises, Khrunichev has direct oversight and control of up to 70% of all Proton rocket manufacturing, including all engine systems. This consolidation directly supports Khrunichev’s ongoing efforts for vertical integration of Proton rocket production and management. Khrunichev has also developed the newest Angara A5 heavy-lift rocket.