International Launch Services (ILS) has carried the EchoStar XIV satellite into orbit on an ILS Proton for DISH Network L.L.C., the fastest growing pay-TV provider in America.
This was the second ILS Proton launch and the fourth overall Proton launch this year. The EchoStar XIV satellite was also the 21st consecutive successful Proton launch in 20 months and the first commercial flight of the enhanced Phase III Proton.
The ILS Proton Breeze M launched from Pad 39 at the Cosmodrome at 00:27 local time (14:27 EDT, 18:27 GMT). After a nine-hour, 10-minute mission, the Breeze M successfully released the EchoStar XIV satellite into geosynchronous transfer orbit. The satellite, weighing more than 6.3 metric tons, is the heaviest satellite launched on ILS Proton to date.
Built by Space Systems/Loral on the reliable, flight-proven 1300 platform, EchoStar XIV will join DISH Network’s fleet of satellites at 119 degrees West longitude. EchoStar XIV will provide Ku-band services over the United States and strengthen DISH Network’s high definition lineup.
This was also the 355th launch for Proton since its inaugural flight in 1965, and the 58th ILS Proton launch overall. The Proton Breeze M launch vehicle was developed and built by Khrunichev Research and Production Space Center of Moscow, one of the pillars of the Russian space industry and the majority shareholder in ILS.
“ILS is proud to partner with DISH Network, an innovator that continues to lead the TV industry in HD programming and cutting-edge technology,” said Frank McKenna, president of ILS.
“The successful launch of EchoStar XIV was a significant milestone for ILS Proton as the first commercial launch using the enhanced Phase III performance capabilities. ILS and Khrunichev are very proud to have completed a precise in-orbit delivery of EchoStar XIV to support DISH Network’s continued success.”
EchoStar Satellite Services L.L.C., a subsidiary of EchoStar Corporation (Nasdaq: SATS), manages DISH Network’s space programs and will begin in-orbit testing of the satellite later this month.
“On behalf of our customer, DISH Network, we are pleased with the performance of the ILS Proton launch vehicle and look forward to testing of the satellite,” said Rohan Zaveri, vice president of Space Programs for EchoStar.