A Proton M/Breeze M launch vehicle flying on behalf of the Khrunichev majority-owned launch provider, International Launch Services (ILS), successfully delivered the EchoStar XVI (Echostar 16) communications satellite into orbit for the satellite operator EchoStar Corporation. The launch occured at 1831GMT on 20 November from the Baikonur Cosmodrome near Tyuratam, Kazakhstan.
During the launch process the Breeze M upper stage utilized a standard five-burn mission to perform the planned mission maneuvers to advance the orbital unit first to a circular parking orbit, then to an intermediate orbit. After a 9 hour and 12 minute mission, the Breeze M successfully released the EchoStar XVI satellite into geostationary transfer orbit.
The satellite was manufactured by Space Systems/Loral (SS/L) utilizing their LS-1300 platform. Positioned in Geostationary Earth Orbit at 298.5 degrees East (61.5 degrees West), the EchoStar XV spacecraft will be used as a direct broadcast communications satellite and will be leased to the DISH network for its Direct-to-Home television and data services across the United States of America.
"With the successful launch of EchoStar XVI, ILS Proton has launched five of the satellites in the EchoStar fleet. We are very proud to have served EchoStar in their expansion over the past ten years," said ILS President, Phil Slack.
Slack has replaced the outgoing ILS President, Frank McKenna, after it was announced on 20 November that McKenna had left the company. Slack was previously the vice president and chief financial officer for ILS.