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December 28, 2014

We have had a successful mission with the Proton M Breeze M rocket, carrying the Astra 2G satellite built by Airbus. We have confirmation that the satellite separated from the vehicle on schedule at 1:49 a.m. EST, or 06:49 GMT, approximately 9 hours and 12 minutes after liftoff.

Everything occurred as planned with ignition, shutdown and separation of the Proton’s first three stages. Then the Breeze M upper stage with the satellite continued the mission, igniting five times, and then releasing the satellite into transfer orbit.

December 27, 2014

We have confirmed that the Breeze M upper stage has successfully completed its 3rd and 4th burn, as well as jettisoning its additional propellant tank. The vehicle is now in a 5 hour coast period, during which we will have nothing to report. The 5th burn is scheduled to start around 01:30 a.m. EST, or 06:30 GMT. Separation of the Astra 2G spacecraft is scheduled to follow the 5th burn completion by about 12 minutes.

December 27, 2014

As the Breeze M upper stage of our Proton M rocket continues its climb into space with the Astra 2G satellite onboard, we have received confirmation that the 2nd burn of the upper stage occurred and shut down as scheduled.

The next events are scheduled for about 2 hours from now. The Breeze M upper stage will ignite for a 3rd time and burn for approximately 12 minutes; after that the additional propellant tank will be jettisoned and the Breeze M will complete its 4th burn. All this will happen while the vehicle is again out of range of a ground station. We should reacquire the vehicle around 8:28 p.m. EST, or 01:28 GMT.

December 27, 2014

We have received confirmation of completion of the first burn. The vehicle is now scheduled to be out of range for just under an hour, after which we will hear confirmation of the second burn

December 27, 2014

We had a successful liftoff about 11 minutes ago of the ILS Proton M Breeze M rocket, which is carrying the Astra 2G satellite onboard. The three stages of the Proton vehicle have performed as planned, and it is up to the Breeze M upper stage to complete the mission. The upper stage has begun its first burn, which is scheduled to last about 5 minutes.

December 27, 2014

We have liftoff! of the Proton M Breeze M rocket and the Astra 2G satellite.

November 24, 2014

Roll Out!

On you mark, get set……rollout! As scheduled and right on time at 630 am the ILS Proton rolled out to launch pad 39 with the ASTRA 2G SC safely on board!  Despite a dark, cold, blustery morning with the temperature hovering around -3° Celsius the dedicated mission team were up and out at the Breeze M Fueling station  to send the ILV on its way.  Once at the LP the outstanding effort from multiple teams ensured that we now have the ASTRA 2G vertical and standing in all its glory on the pad.  It is always a great sight to behold!  A hearty celebratory US breakfast of spam and eggs was consumed by the early risers when they returned to the hotel.

November 23, 2014

Breeze M Fueling

It’s that time….One A2G ILV ready for BM Fueling.  Today the ILV was transferred out of H111 to the BM Fueling area.  As we know fueling is a hazardous operation so the entire team has been relocated to our respective hotels for the duration of operations. These two days are when most team members take the opportunity to recharge, regroup, and unwind.  Some of the team will head into Baikonur-town for a day trip, catch up over lunch and perhaps even buy some Christmas presents for their loved ones at home. Others however will stay at the hotels, catch up with additional tasks/projects and naturally prepare for the upcoming operations….they are checking their lists….twice!

November 21, 2014

Hive of Activity

The A2G team is hard at work checking of milestones as they continue progressing forward with campaign operations.  Over the past few days there have been numerous activities taking place both at the processing facility and out at the Launch Pad.  At the facility, the SC has been encapsulated, then transferred via rail car from H101 to H111 and seamlessly joined to the launch vehicle.  We now have an integrated launch vehicle .  Testing of the ILV has been completed successfully!

Meanwhile out at the launch pad a few valiant team members braved the frigid temperatures to off-load and set up equipment down in the vault.  The team members down in the vault who receive the equipment are the lucky ones as they are protected from the wind and cold.  Those above ground on the launch pad deck even though dressed for the occasion move with extreme efficiency to minimize the time they are exposed to Mother Nature.

There is a collective sense of accomplishment when operations go smoothly and testing is completed successfully!

 

November 19, 2014

Joint Operations Begin!

Joint operations have started! What a day it was yesterday. A collective, dedicated team effort along with a well-orchestrated plan provided for smooth transparent operations. The final product is the orbital unit sitting in the tilter in all its glory! Today it will be tilted (very carefully) into the horizontal position.  A plethora of activities will take place over the next few days, all of which will culminate into an Ascent Unit (SC enclosed by the Payload Fairing).

November 19, 2014

BRAVO! A2G Fueling Operations Completed

As usual the UK Propulsion team and accompanying support crews brought their “A” game for the fueling operations.  With early starts and long days the team has successfully loaded both propellant components into the A2G SC.  SC fueling is considered a hazardous operation, because of this fact, all non-essential launch team personnel were relocated during fueling operations to their hotels. Some team members were lucky to have down time and took trips into Baikonurtown, others remained hard at work, conducting daily meetings, producing reports, ensuring launch campaign operations were moving forward and on target. To celebrate and close out this operation, a good old fashioned American BBQ will be held on Monday to salute the team for a job well done and give everyone a well-deserved break!

 

November 10, 2014

Success! Day 1 of SC Fueling is complete.

For most of the launch campaign team it was a day to catch up on projects, rest and to recharge the batteries. For the Airbus Propulsion team it was an early start to a long day spent fueling the first tank of the A2G satellite. The team will be back at it again tomorrow to finish up the first of two commodities.

November 4, 2014

31 October 2014

As always we try to bring a little bit of home with us. Today we brought the spirit of Halloween to our small corner of the desert with a traditional ILS BBQ of ribs and tri-tip.
Everyone had a great time - especially one of our spacecraft manufacturer team members who celebrated her birthday in style - with a scary (but delicious) birthday cake with edible webs and spiders!  Everyone was happy and in good spirits - no tricks but LOTS of treats all around!

November 4, 2014

29 October 2014

SC-Arrival Day!  It was a clear sun shining day and thankfully not too cold (YET!) The air-field team had an early start for an all-day spacecraft off-load.  Precision team work, smooth operations and plenty of positive energy ensured a safe and well-orchestrated off-load.

Planes, trains and automobiles all played their part for a well-executed plan delivering the A2G SC safe and sound to the 92A50 processing facility.  Once inside 92A50 in H101 the SC was seamlessly transferred off the train to its initial resting place in preparation for the forth-coming operations.

November 3, 2014

23 October 2014

The Astra 2G launch campaign has officially begun! It was so wonderful to see all of our old friends and meet new team members on the bus ride to the airport in Moscow.  We are all very excited to get started.  

The Astra 2G campaign is the first to use a new charter company for our journey to the Cosmodrome facility.  A smooth hotel pick-up, friendly flight attendants, great food and a brand new Russian jetliner, the Sukhoi Superjet (similar to Boeing 737) brought us to Baikonur swiftly, comfortably and safely. All of the team seemed to be impressed with our new, modern transport!

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