Satellites

ILS Proton to launch Malaysian Satellite, Measat-3

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VIRGINIA: International Launch Services (ILS) has announced a contract with Binariang Satellite Systems to launch the Measat-3 satellite in 2005.

The mission will use the Russian-built Proton rocket with a Breeze M upper stage to place the satellite at 91.5 degrees East longitude, an official release informs. The satellite will serve Malaysia, Southeast and Central Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Eastern Europe and Australia.

ILS, which claims to be the world's leading launch provider, is a US-Russian joint venture that markets and manages the commercial launch missions for the Proton vehicle, built by Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Center.

Measat-3 is a Boeing 601 model, similar to nine satellites for other operators that have flown on Proton. Binariang is the sole licensed commercial satellite operator in Malaysia. The company claims to have pioneered the development of high-powered Ku-band direct-to-home services into Southeast Asia in 1996. The current Measat-1 and -2 satellites provide C-band and Ku-band connectivity spanning India, Asia and Australia, as well as Hawaii in the US.

The Measat-3 satellite is expected to provide the platform for future growth of the group and ensure Binariang's position as a strong regional satellite operator. Measat-3 has an expected lifespan of 15 years and will consist of 24 C-band and 24 Ku-band transponders.

The Ku-band footprint covers Malaysia, India and China while the C-band covers Asia, Middle East, Eastern Europe, Africa and Australia. The satellite costs $132.5 million. Measat has said that the launch would cost it $48.7 million.

ILS president Mark Albrecht says, "As ILS expands its list of international customers into Southeast Asia, we're pleased that Binariang, one of the region's leading satellite operators, has elected to become our customer." He adds that the Proton rocket, with its history of 300 launches, has developed a reputation in the international satellite community as both a reliable and a capable vehicle.

He says, "The choice of Proton/Breeze M by Binariang over other international suppliers demonstrates Binariang's confidence in the Russian-built launcher as well as in ILS."

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