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July 16, 2011

We have had a successful mission with the ILS Proton Rocket carrying the SES-3 satellite built by Orbital Sciences Corporation and the KazSat-2 satellite built by Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Center. We have had confirmation that the SES-3 satellite separated from the vehicle on schedule at 3:17 a.m. EDT, or 07:17 GMT, 8 hours and 01 minute after liftoff and subsequently the KazSat-2 satellite separated at 4:46 a.m. EDT or 8:46 GMT.

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 a total of six times, and releasing the satellites into their respective orbits.

This was the first Shared ILS Proton Rocket Launch.

July 16, 2011

We have confirmed that the Breeze M upper stage has successfully completed its 5th burn and the SES-3 spacecraft has separated. The 6th burn is scheduled for about an hour from now and the KazSat-2 satellite will separate shortly after that at around 4:46 am EDT, 08:46 GMT.

July 15, 2011

As the Breeze M upper stage of our Proton M rocket continues its climb into space with the SES-3 and KazSat-2 satellites 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 15 minutes; after that the additional propellant tank will be jettisoned, and the 4th burn will start and complete. All this will happen in a span of almost 20 minutes while the vehicle is again out of range of a ground station. We should reacquire the vehicle shortly after the 4th burn ends.


July 15, 2011

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

July 15, 2011

We had a successful liftoff about 11 minutes ago of our Proton M Breeze M rocket, which is carrying the SES-3 and KazSat-2 satellites on board. 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 5 minutes.

July 15, 2011

We have liftoff! of the ILS Proton M Breeze M rocket and the SES-3 satellite.

July 12, 2011

After the ascent unit containing the SES-3 spacecraft, the KazSat-2 SC and the Breeze M were integrated to the launch vehicle, the next step was to apply the thermal blanket to the now integrated launch vehicle, which provides a stable environment for our 2 sensitive payloads.  Once complete, the delicate operation of transferring the enormous rocket to the transporter was performed, and the huge machine was slowly moved via rail to the Breeze M fueling station where fueling took place over the course of the next two days.


SES-3 Integrated launch vehicle lift

SES-3 Integrated Launch Vehicle on its way to the pad

July 3, 2011

In the last two days, two more important milestones have been accomplished.  The SES-3 spacecraft (SC) was placed on top of the KazSat-2 SC, and the “stack” was tilted into a horizontal position for encapsulation into the payload fairing.  Today, the Orbital electrical team will check the internal Proton umbilical transit lines.  All operations are proceeding according to schedule and there are no issues.

Fourth of July events scheduled for near future!


SES-3 Satellite Stack Tilting on the Tilter


SES-3 Satellite Stack Tilted on the Tilter

July 1, 2011

Several campaign milestones have occurred this past week.  The SES-3 (OS-2) spacecraft (SC) was successfully mated to the payload adapter (PLA).  RUAG, Orbital and Khrunichev worked continuously for several hours, performing checks at every new step to be sure all mechanical and electrical connections were secure.   Then it was carefully lifted and placed on top of the Breeze-M/KazSat-2 stack and secured in place.  We now officially have an Ascent Unit for the first ILS Proton shared launch!


SES-3 Non-ILS Mission Team


SES-3 KazSat-2 Ascent Unit

June 24, 2011

The SES-3 (OS-2) spacecraft  is being prepared for fueling, which will take place 25 and 27 June (Baikonur time).  All testing and operations up to this point have been nominal.  The Breeze M upper stage engine, is installed on the tilter in preparation for joint operations with Khrunichev, which will begin on 29 June (BKR), marking another milestone in the SES-3 (OS-2) campaign.

In addition, as part of ILS’ effort to provide customers a more flexible launch manifest with a Second Spacecraft Processing Facility, an additional hotel has been completely renovated and refurbished to permit the concurrent housing of a second campaign team.  Last night, ILS and SES had the opportunity to tour the completed hotel, named “Kosmos,"  with representatives from Khrunichev.   The group was able to tour the entire hotel, which includes a dining hall, tv “family” room, a sauna, plunge pool, relaxation room for the sauna and plunge pool, laundry room and an exercise room.  Tour participants were quite impressed, and were able to express their appreciation to Khrunichev for their hard work during construction the past year and half.


Kosmos Hotel at the Baikonur Cosmodrome

Relaxation Room in the Kosmos Hotel



June 14, 2011

After the SES-3 (OS-2) spacecraft was removed from its container, the mechanical fitcheck commenced.  The mechanical fitcheck verifies the mechanical interface to the adapter ring, including the clearances for the umbilical connectors and adapter harness.  During this operation, two specialists from RUAG worked in conjunction with Orbital mechanical engineers.  Once the fitcheck was complete and all connections were verified, Orbital engineers transferred the spacecraft to Hall 103A for stand-alone testing.

SES-3 Satellite Mechanical Fitcheck

June 13, 2011

On June 9, the SES-3 (OS-2) team journeyed to Yubileiny Airfield to await the arrival of the Antonov 124 aircraft, which was delivering a precious cargo of the SES-3 (OS-2) spacecraft and several M2 containers of campaign support equipment and supplies.  The giant Antonov touched down at 14:15 in clear skies to a picture-perfect landing.  Khrunichev quickly put its skilled team in action to offload the spacecraft and cargo onto railcars.  Joining forces with ILS and Orbital,  offload was accomplished in record time – just 4 hours. 

Then the final leg of the spacecraft’s journey to Khrunichev’s spacecraft processing facility commenced as the train began to rumble forward cautiously at 15 km/hr.  Upon arrival, the spacecraft was carefully lifted off the railcar with a 50 ton overhead crane, and gently touched down to await further processing.  The operation was complete at 02:15 on June 10.

SES-3 Satellite Panorama


SES-3 Satellite Arrival

June 8, 2011

The SES-3 (OS-2) launch campaign team arrived in Baikonur on Sunday, June 5.  As they stepped off the charter aircraft at the Yubeleiny Airfield at the Baikonur Cosmodrome, they were greeted with high, dry heat and gusty winds – true desert weather.  No one could complain though, as the weather in Virginia was even hotter and humid to boot!

Air-conditioned offices awaited the team on Monday morning, as everyone arrived to begin the complex integration of the SES-3 (OS-2) spacecraft, the KazSat-2 spacecraft, and the ILS Proton launch vehicle – it is the first shared launch for ILS.  Meetings and facility set-up were quickly organized and preparations to coordinate the offload of the SES-3 (OS-2) spacecraft were completed.  Khrunichev is ready to receive SES-3 (OS-2) on June 10, at which time the spacecraft will be transferred from the Antonov to a Khrunichev facility via rail car for the start of stand-alone operations.

ILS Offices - SES-3 Campaign

ILS Offices 2 - SES-3 Campaign


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