International Launch Services (ILS), a leading provider of launch services in the commercial satellite industry, is the winner of SpaceNews’s “Turnaround of the Year” award for 2017. The SpaceNews Awards for Excellence & Innovation honor excellence and innovation among space professionals, companies, programs and organizations. SpaceNews established the awards to honor individuals and organizations who have made a significant impact in the space industry over the past year.
ILS President, Kirk Pysher said, “Putting stuff into space is hard and when your launcher has had a bad day, the whole world knows. Launch failures, anomalies, ground faults are all part of the business but it is how you recover from these events that sets your product, your team and your service apart from the competition. We have a great product in the Proton launch vehicles, supported by a highly effective and dedicated ILS and Khrunichev team offering innovative launch solutions for our customers. It was a challenging 2016 and beginning of 2017 for our team, Proton and ultimately our customers.” Pysher continued, “Our dedication and commitment to our customers for 100% mission success drove us through the challenges and brought us out the other side with a better product and service for our customers. With that in mind, I thank each and every employee of ILS and Khrunichev, as well as our customers, partners and suppliers, for enabling our successful turnaround and continuing to place their trust in us. Our sincere thanks to SpaceNews for recognizing our accomplishments with this honor.”
Overcoming tremendous challenges, ILS was chosen based on several factors to include its success record of 12 consecutive launches in a row, including three Proton missions in just six weeks, culminating with the September 29 launch of AsiaSat 9. This followed an extended period of downtime as a result of new stringent quality measures implemented by Khrunichev Space Center, the maker of the Proton launch vehicle. Also during this period, ILS introduced new product developments to exclusively serve the commercial satellite industry: the 2-stage Proton Medium and a 5-meter payload fairing. In fall of 2016, ILS contracted with Eutelsat, for the first two-stage Proton Medium and its first fully commercial shared launch with the Eutelsat 5 West B and Orbital ATK’s Mission Extension Vehicle (MEV)-1 spacecraft onboard the heritage Proton M. The winners of the awards were selected through an open nomination, reader polls and by the deliberation of SpaceNews editors and contributors.