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January 28, 2015

On a crisp, crystal clear winter morning a few brave mission team members bundled up for the frigid temperatures and stood with bated breath and excited energy as the ILS Proton with I5F2 SC onboard completed its lasts checks before rolling out like clockwork at 630 am to launch pad 39. Regardless of the temperatures, there is always a great sense of pride watching the mighty Proton rocket pass by on its way to the pad as it represents a culmination of hard work, dedication and perseverance put in by multiple team members from around the globe towards one common goal of launching the I5F2 SC.  Next milestone ILV virticalization.

January 28, 2015

With expert efficiency the KhSC fueling team has completed their hazardous fueling operations.  Due to the hazardous nature of the operations, the entire mission team was relocated to the hotels and had two days of down time.  Some of the team members took the opportunity to head to town to do shopping and try out some of the local restaurants.  Other’s played catch up with laundry, watched movies; some were treated to a visit to the Gargarin Museum and got an extensive guided tour, visit Yuri Gargarin’s house, explored the Buran mock-up and received a history lesson of the Baikonur Cosmodrome.

January 14, 2015

Since SC arrival the team has been meticulously hard at work pulling many long hours to ensure that our t’s are crossed and I’s are dotted as we progress through numerous testing operations of both the SC, LV, Breeze-M, PLF and PLA respectively. All energies exerted have been rewarded with positive results.

This week our respective teams have been diligently working on preparations for SC fueling in Hall 103A, electrical testing of the Breeze-M located in Hall 101; pneumatic testing of the Launch Vehicle (rocket) in Hall 111.   Both the payload fairing and payload adapter are in Hall 101 ready for joint operations to begin.  A true hive of activity on every front!

January 14, 2015

No matter whether it is 122 °C (50°F) degree heat during the height of summer or -6°C (21.2°F) degrees during winter, there is always room for a BBQ.  A few members from the Boeing team braved freezing temperatures to bbq up some yummy ribs.  Quite naturally, they were demolished in record time.  Needless to say, there were no left overs for lunch the following day.  Our Russian colleagues had a fabulous time at the bbq although, I’m sure they think we are slightly mad to be bbqing at -6°C (21.2°F)  degrees with a blustery cold wind making its presence felt.  All cooks were dressed in full winter clothing…balaclava, gloves, coats and pants.

December 29, 2014

SC Arrival day came expeditiously.  A SC off-load planning meeting prior to the SC arrival ensured that all parties were on the same page and that our off-load progressed with precision timing. It’s truly amazing to watch many different teams work alongside each other as though they do this on a daily basis.  Mercifully, Mother Nature was in fine form and put on a glorious winter day! Although a little chilly (nothing that a winter coat, hat, gloves and thermals could fix) the sun was shining, in an ice blue almost cloudless sky and a whisper of a breeze occasionally. Check out the photos in the photo gallery courtesy of our Inmarsat customer Dr. Franco Carnevale.

With the stars aligning and an enormous effort from all involved, our off-load was completed just as the sun set.  A welcome sigh of relief ensued from all team members…the cold sets in rather quickly when the sun departs. The train departed from the airfield with the I5F2 SC tied down snuggly, the Antonov took off bound for another locale and the team headed back to the hotel for a quick bit to eat, a little 60 minute recharge and then off to the processing facility to unpack all the GSE (ground support equipment) and finally the SC once it completed its five hour journey to the processing facility.

The herculean effort put in by the early team guaranteed the GSE was unloaded, unpacked and ready for our return, a SC happily positioned and resting in H101 also ready for our return to commence our campaign in earnest and move forward with forth-coming operations.

December 29, 2014

The Inmsarsat-5 F2 launch campaign officially begun on 16 Dec 2014!  Quite different from the norm, the I5F2 campaign is a split campaign allowing most of the mission team to spend times with loved ones at home for the Christmas holidays.  A very welcome Christmas gift!

Knowing that the early team would be going home from the holidays, all efforts and energies were put into a seamless arrival in Baikonur, operation scheduling on point, and teamwork at its finest! Additional bonus was the fact that our team was able to experience and enjoy the Air Charter Service company’s Sukhoi Superjet (similar to Boeing 737) flying into Baikonur.  It’s the little things in life that really do make a huge impact and difference.

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