Photo courtesy of International Launch Services (ILS)

International Launch Services (ILS) successfully placed the EUTELSAT 9B satellite into geosynchronous transfer orbit today, for Eutelsat Communications of Paris, France. With this mission, ILS, a leader in providing mission integration and launch services to the global commercial satellite industry, completed its 92nd Proton launch overall and 1st Proton launch of 2016. Since its maiden flight in 1965, this was the 410th aggregate launch for the Proton vehicle, including both Federal and commercial missions.
The launch of EUTELSAT 9B, built by Airbus Defence and Space, was conducted for Eutelsat using the Proton Breeze M launch vehicle, manufactured by Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Center (Khrunichev), the majority owner of ILS and one of the cornerstones of the global space industry.

The Proton Breeze M vehicle carrying EUTELSAT 9B launched from Pad 39 at the Baikonur Cosmodrome, today, at 04:20: local time (22:20 GMT and 17:20 ET on January 29). The first three stages of the Proton used a standard ascent profile to place the orbital unit (Breeze M upper stage and the EUTELSAT 9B satellite) into a sub-orbital trajectory. The Breeze M performed planned mission maneuvers to advance the orbital unit first to a circular parking orbit, then to an intermediate orbit, followed by a transfer orbit, and finally to a geosynchronous transfer orbit. Separation of the EUTELSAT 9B satellite occurred 9 hours, 12 minutes after liftoff.

EUTELSAT 9B is a high-capacity 56-transponder Ku-band satellite for Eutelsat’s 9° East position. Capacity will be spread across five footprints, with frequency reuse optimizing overall bandwidth. EUTELSAT 9B will address high-growth digital TV markets through one pan-European footprint delivering wide coverage and four regional footprints. EUTELSAT 9B also hosts the first data relay payload for the European Data Relay System (EDRS) being implemented through a Public Private Partnership (PPP) between ESA and Airbus Defence and Space.


ILS President Kirk Pysher stated, “The EUTELSAT 9B launch truly represents an example of an international partnership: a European-made satellite for Eutelsat with an ESA / Airbus Defence and Space payload launched on a Russian rocket by an American company.  The entire EUTELSAT 9B team of Eutelsat, ILS, Khrunichev and Airbus Defence and Space worked very hard to ensure mission success. We want to express our sincere thanks to Eutelsat for their confidence and trust and look forward to launching future satellites in the Multi-Launch Agreement, designed to provide Eutelsat additional schedule flexibility, and assured access to space at cost effective prices.”

“Our congratulations to ILS and Krunichev for today’s flawless launch that sees a new Eutelsat satellite propelled on its way to geostationary orbit. This sophisticated satellite program reflects outstanding collaboration between Eutelsat, ESA, Airbus Defence and Space, ILS and Khrunichev. We look forward to putting EUTELSAT 9B to work for the benefit of our broadcaster clients and to the inauguration of the ground-breaking European Data Relay System that illustrates the complementarity of geostationary and low earth satellites for fast transmission of data flows back to earth,”  said Michel de Rosen, Eutelsat Chairman and CEO.