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December 27, 2010

We have had a successful mission with the ILS Proton Breeze M rocket, carrying the KA-SAT satellite built by EADS Astrium. We have had confirmation that the satellite separated from the vehicle on schedule at 2:03 a.m. EST, or 07:03 UTC.

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, 2010

We have confirmed that the Breeze M Upper Stage has successfully completed its 3rd and 4th burns, 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 1:44 a.m. EST, or 06:44 GMT and burn approximately 6 minutes. Separation of the KA-SAT spacecraft is scheduled to follow the 5th burn completion by about 13 minutes.

December 26, 2010

As the Breeze M Upper Stage of the ILS Proton rocket continues its climb into space with the KA-SAT satellite, 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 11 minutes; after that the additional propellant tank will be jettisoned and then the 4th burn will begin and burn for approximately 7 minutes. All this will happen while the vehicle is again out of range of a ground station. We should reacquire the vehicle shortly after the 4th burn is complete.

December 26, 2010

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

December 26, 2010

We had a successful liftoff about 10 minutes ago of our Proton M Breeze M rocket, which is carrying the KA-SAT satellite. 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 around 4 minutes.

December 26, 2010

We have liftoff! of the Proton Breeze M rocket and the KA-SAT satellite.

December 23, 2010

The ILV rolled out the Breeze M fueling station yesterday afternoon. The first day of fueling was completed yesterday evening, and now we are on to day two. Tonight is the State Commission meeting to authorize rollout to the launch pad. If we receive authorization, we’ll start the rollout to the launch pad at 6:30 a.m. tomorrow morning, Baikonur time.

On Tuesday night we had a spaghetti night. Thanks to Pete and Dave for the yummy food! Tomorrow night we’ll have a Christmas dinner. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to everyone!

December 21, 2010

Joint ops restarted on Friday! The orbital unit, which consists of the space craft/adapter/upper stage, was tilted and then encapsulated by the payload fairing. A dinner was held Friday evening to celebrate the restart of joint ops. It was a nice evening, with a delicious meal prepared by Olga, the restaurant manager, and her team. On Saturday, everyone went to Hall 101 to sign the fairing. It was a great time, with many personal messages left on the fairing. Sunday the ascent unit (the orbital unit plus the fairing) was moved to Hall 111 and integrated with the launch vehicle. We now have an integrated launch vehicle and are getting closer to the launch! The next two days will be quieter due to Breeze M fueling. After that, it will be time to roll out to the launch pad!

December 8, 2010

We started joint operations yesterday afternoon. It was a long day, but all parties did a great job and worked very hard to get the spacecraft (SC) mated to the payload adapter (PLA). Today the SC/PLA stack was mated to the Breeze M and is vertical in Hall 101 undergoing joint electrical testing. It’s awesome to see the SC mated to the Breeze M. The great thing about joint ops starting is that we are getting closer to the launch!

The Pinkertons held a burrito night on Monday. The burritos were better than Chipotle! Thanks to all of the cooks. We all had a great time at the fiesta.

December 8, 2010

ILS sponsored a BBQ at the end of the second day of propellant loading on Friday. The Astrium propellant team worked very hard and the BBQ was a nice break before their changeover day. Pete and Dave fired up the grill and the fire pit, and ILS moved the heaters into the pavilion. The food was great and the company was even better. The drinks that were not in the pavilion froze before the BBQ was in full swing, and so did the pickles. But the problem was quickly solved – grilled pickles! Thanks to all to who worked on the BBQ – it was a great time!

On a final note, congrats to the Astrium propellant team. Great job, guys!

December 1, 2010

Spacecraft standalone activities are in progress, so things are a little quieter here than last week, but that doesn’t mean we are not busy. We had Thanksgiving to celebrate!

We celebrated Thanksgiving Baikonur style with Eutelsat, Astrium, and Khrunichev. David, Pete, John, and Katie made some traditional American sides including candied yams, stuffing, green bean casserole, collard greens, cornbread, gravy, and pumpkin pie. Olga and the kitchen did a great job preparing the turkeys, lamb, mashed potatoes, and lots of other dishes. It was quite a feast! Everyone had a great time and full bellies by the end of the night.

November 19, 2010

Welcome to the eigth ILS Proton launch campaign for 2010 – the launch of the EADS Astrium-built KA-SAT satellite for Eutelsat. Follow along with the mission team as they prepare for the launch.

November 19, 2010

Welcome to the KA-SAT launch campaign blog. Let’s do it!

We are in full swing here in Baikonur after saying goodbye to the SkyTerra 1 team and welcoming the KA-SAT main team on Wednesday. The weather has been mild thus far, with fog greeting us in the morning only to burn off by the afternoon, so we have beautiful sunsets and night skies full of stars.

There has been a flurry of activity since the early team arrival on 11 November. Between managing the overlap with the SkyTerra 1 team and getting the KA-SAT campaign off the ground, we’ve definitely hit the ground running. Especially our Program Integrator, since it is her first time in Baikonur, there is a lot of new stuff for her to learn.

Khrunichev gave us a tour of Hall 111 to see the KA-SAT launch vehicle, and Dr. Bronfman, director of programs at Khrunichev, provided us with many good stories about the history of the Proton during the tour. On Thursday, we were able to see the launch vehicle before it went to testing. It’s quite a sight to see it in a horizontal position because of its massive size.

The good news today is that the spacecraft arrived! It was a chilly, windy day out at the airfield, so strong that it could have knocked you over. It’s been a long day, and it’s not over yet. We’ll have the fitcheck either tomorrow or Sunday. These long days keep us busy.

We’ve taken a break from BBQs, but we’ll have a big Thanksgiving celebration, complete with turkey and all the fixings. :-)

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