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May 15, 2017

Next Stop, Baikonur: The teams of ILS, KhSC, EchoStar and SSL conducted a successful pre-launch meeting in Moscow today at the Proton Hotel. Then it’s wheels up tomorrow for the charter to the launch site.

This will be the 6th ILS mission for EchoStar utilizing Proton, the industry workhorse with 412 launches to date. EchoStar XXI is designed to provide mobile connectivity throughout Europe, based on SSL’s 1300 bus. EchoStar subsidiary, EchoStar Mobile Limited, will utilize a portion of the capacity on EchoStar XXI to provision its next-generation, all IP-enabled mobile communications network.

May 14, 2017

Moving forward: The EchoStar XXI Breeze M Upper Stage was transferred to the high pressure fueling building today at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan in preparation for the launch of the EchoStar XXI satellite for EchoStar this month. @EchoStar @sslmda #EchoStar XXI

May 6, 2017

Precious Cargo On Board: The train carrying the EchoStar XXI launch vehicle arrived at the Baikonur Cosmodrome at 2:10 pm local time today in preparation for the integration of the launch vehicle with the satellite. This will be the 6th ILS mission for EchoStar utilizing Proton, the industry workhorse with 412 launches to date. EchoStar XXI is designed to provide mobile connectivity throughout Europe, based on SSL’s 1300 bus. EchoStar subsidiary, EchoStar Mobile Limited, will utilize a portion of the capacity on EchoStar XXI to provision its next-generation, all IP-enabled mobile communications network.

 

November 27, 2016

27 November 2016

Spacecraft onsite? Check. Technical, Propulsion and ancillary teams in place? Check. And now the final star of our show has arrived—the much anticipated Launch Vehicle! After a very long and cold train ride thru Russia and Kazakhstan, our Launch Vehicle finally arrived at our processing facility in the early morning hours on November 27. While our teams continue technical works on the spacecraft, our Russian hosts will now begin their task of unloading the Launch Vehicle from the railcars and begin arduous preparations and testing to make sure it is air/space ready. With both “stars of the show” here we can continue to move forward and prepare for that very special event—launch day!

November 26, 2016

26 November 2016

Over the years a traditional Thanksgiving dinner has also become a special day for our Russian hosts and they try to make us feel welcome and happy. Once again, we see our cultures might be different in some ways, but we can share and learn together… so we had big dinner with ALL of the team on Sunday, November 26th! About 65 people gathered for another round of turkey, stuffing and fixin’s prepared this time by our Russian hosts. Over the years they have perfected our recipes and it tasted “just like mom used to make” (well…almost!).

Although pretty tired due to airport weather delays, this time the arriving SSL propellent team was able to join in the fun. After a wonderful meal we sent them off to get some well deserved rest so they could begin the important task of preparations for satellite fueling…

November 24, 2016

24 November 2016

While our loved ones are asleep back home, our team is waking up to a new day and to Thanksgiving 2016. It is a normal work day for us here as we have a schedule and deadline to meet, but that doesn’t mean we don’t take time out to bond, remember our loved ones back home and share a traditional Thanksgiving meal together. Of course it’s not the same as being at home with family and friends, but we sit around the table and enjoy wonderful food (almost like back home!), share stories of what is going on at home and we give thanks for what we have. Happy Thanksgiving!

November 22, 2016

22 November 2016

After the long journey from Northern California to Baikonur, it is now time to unpack and open the spacecraft container so that the spacecraft can be set into place and processed. Although a bit complicated, it is an easy task for our team of highly qualified professionals. Ever so slightly, the container lid is lifted and there she is, waiting for the team to wake her from her long journey so that she can be prepared for her next, even longer flight for her proud owners—EchoStar. While this takes place, the rest of the team is unpacking and setting up offices and settling in to our new home for the next few weeks…

November 21, 2016

21 November 2016

As our bus pulled up to the airport, in the distance we all could see the Antonov coming in for a smooth landing. Watching the world’s largest cargo aircraft is always an amazing sight to see—huge but graceful! This offload was not only well organized and smooth, but also slightly faster than usual. The use of a new, more modern ramp system allowed for the air cargo team to assemble the ramp quicker, which is always nice when the team is outside in minus 12 °C weather! First the air/sea containers were offloaded and then the main reason we all came here for: the SSL spacecraft made its way down the new ramp and onto the rail car for the slow but steady journey to the processing facility where it will be unpacked, checked, powered up and fueled for the next stop—space!

November 19, 2016

19 November 2016

Well, the EchoStar XXI launch campaign has officially begun! This trip was a little faster to site as our flight was an Airbus A319 which not only provided more comfort for the team, but we arrived a few minutes earlier. The utilization of this aircraft was in part due to the changes and improvements to the local airport runway that can now handle this type of aircraft. The team arrived onsite, checked-in to our hotels and then off to the Arrival Briefing on safety and security at our new home away from home. From there, a delicious dinner was served and then off to bed as tomorrow begins what we all came for—to launch EchoStar XXI!

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