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“International Launch Services”
Fun with Figures: The Rise and Fall of the Commercial Proton Booster
Proton on launch pad (Credit: ILS)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

Russia recently marked the 25th anniversary of the entry of the Proton rocket into the international commercial marketplace. On April 8, 1996, a Proton-K booster with a DM3 upper stage launched the Astra 1F geosynchronous communications satellite built by U.S.-based Hughes for Luxembourg’s SES from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

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  • April 27, 2021
ILS Names New President, Launch Opportunities

WASHINGTON, D.C., March 11, 2020 (ILS PR) — Today ILS International Launch Services, Inc. (ILS) announces the appointment of Tiphaine Louradour as President.

Tiphaine joins ILS with over two decades of Space Industry and management experience, most recently as President of Global Commercial Sales at United Launch Alliance (ULA). Prior to this role, Tiphaine held a number of positions of increasing responsibility in finance, risk management, strategy, commercial sales and marketing and also gained international business experience while serving as a consultant to international consulting firms in the US and Europe.

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  • March 12, 2020
ILS President Departs Proton Flies Last Scheduled Commercial Launch

MOSCOW (Khrunichev PR) — Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Center, the majority shareholder of ILS International Launch Services, Inc., (“ILS”) announced the departure of Kirk Pysher as ILS President. John Palme, ILS Chief Operations Officer, will serve as interim President until a successor is appointed.

Mr. Alexey Varochko, KhSC Director General, expressed his thanks to Mr. Pysher for his work on offering Proton M launch services on the global market.

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  • October 10, 2019
ILS Announces Leadership Changes

Reston, VA (ILS PR) — ILS announces the departure of Frank McKenna as ILS’ president and the appointment of Phil Slack as president of ILS. For the past twelve years, Slack was the vice president and chief financial officer for ILS. Prior to ILS, he held several senior business management positions with Boeing, primarily in their space transportation business from 1988 until joining ILS in 2000. John Palmé has been […]

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  • November 20, 2012
ILS Protests ESA’s Subsidies to Arianespace

ILS PR — BRUSSELS, Belgium, March 23, 2011 — ILS International Launch Services, Inc. (ILS), citing the recurring subsidies provided to its primary competitor, Arianespace, is waging an aggressive protest and intends to pursue “all avenues of recourse to stop such inordinate and direct subsidization of Ariane’s commercial operations,” said ILS President Frank McKenna.

This followed the most recent decision by the 18-nation European Space Agency (ESA) on March 17 to grant an additional infusion of funds totaling 250 million euros ($318 million) to support Europe’s Arianespace launch consortium with the implied promise of continued support beginning in 2013.


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  • March 24, 2011
Greener Pastures Seen for Baikonur After Russian Military Pullout

The magazine Der Spiegel has a very good story about the future of Kazakhstan’s Baikonur launch complex. It centers on International Launch Services president Frank McKenna, an American who helps to oversee commercial launches from the formerly supersecret Soviet spaceport where Sputnik and Yuri Gagarin roared into history 50 years ago.


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  • February 26, 2009