Skip to content
December 23, 2013

On 19 December, Sirius Satellite Radio and International Launch Services celebrated the successful launch of the Sirius FM-6 satellite, which took place in October this year. The event was hosted by ILS in the Orchid Room of the "21" Club in New York.

In attendance from Khrunichev:

Deputy Director General Sergey Anisimov

In attendance from ILS:

President Phil Slack
Senior Vice President and General Counsel Tom Tshudy
Vice President Dawn Harms
Vice President and Chief Technical Officer John Palme
Regional Sales Director Tom Carroll
Program Director Mike Thee

In attendance from Sirius:

Executive Vice President and General Counsel Patrick Donnelly
Corporate Vice President and Chief Engineering Officer Terry Smith
Senior Vice President Patrick Reilly
Technical Executive Rob Briskman
Vice President Bridget Neville

In attendance from SSL:

Senior Director Paul Crawford

Sirius FM-6 | Post Launch | Sirius

(left to right: Rob Briskman, Phil Slack, Bridget Neville, Serguey Anisimov, Paul Crawford, and Terry Smith)

For more photos, click here.

October 25, 2013

We have had a successful mission with the Proton M Breeze M rocket, carrying the Sirius FM-6 satellite built by SSL. We have confirmation that the satellite separated from the vehicle on schedule at 11:20 p.m. EDT, or 03:20 UTC, 9 hours and 11 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.


October 25, 2013

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 11:01 p.m. EDT, or 03:01 GMT. Separation of the Sirius FM-6 spacecraft is scheduled to follow the 5th burn completion by about 13 minutes.

October 25, 2013

As the Breeze M upper stage of our ILS Proton M rocket continues its climb into space with the SIRIUS FM-6 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 about 15 minutes; after that the additional propellant tank will be jettisoned, and the 4th burn will start. All this will happen in a span of about 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.

October 25, 2013

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.

October 25, 2013

We had a successful liftoff about 9 minutes ago of our ILS Proton M Breeze M rocket, which is carrying the SIRIUS FM-6 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 and a half minutes.

October 25, 2013

We have liftoff! of the ILS Proton M Breeze M rocket and the SIRIUS FM-6 satellite.

October 25, 2013

Today is the day.  In approximately T-2 hours the ILS Proton is scheduled to lift off with the Sirius FM-6 satellite. Approval to prepare the launch vehicle has been given and the mission teams are moving into their secure locations. Go Proton!   

October 23, 2013

Today, the mission teams continue to ready for the launch of Sirius FM-6 here in Baikonur.   Both the spacecraft (SC) and launch vehicle (LV) are safe and remain in stacked configuration at the launch pad.  The SC underwent health checks today with no issues.  As we wait to receive word regarding the satellite manufacturer’s ground station network, the teams decided to head into town for a little bowling. Yes, there is actually bowling alley in Baikonur!


October 22, 2013

Today, there were no necessary launch vehicle operations as we are standing by while issues with the satellite manufacturer’s ground station network are being resolved. We will celebrate a special birthday of one of our team members tonight with a traditional BBQ…a very happy birthday to Sasha!

Proton on the launch pad

October 19, 2013

A full moon to the west coincided with a bright sunrise to the east this morning making for a spectacular view…almost as good as the view of the Proton standing vertical on the launch pad.  Operations are going according to schedule and fueling of the integrated launch vehicle (ILV) will be the next milestone. One day closer!

Moon over Pad

Baikonur Moon



October 17, 2013

As scheduled and right on time at 630 am the ILS Proton rolled out to launch pad 39 with Sirius FM-6 on board!  A perfectly clear day albeit chilly for mid-October, the temperature was just -6° Celsius. Who knew when we packed for Baikonur in August we’d need our winter clothes! Despite the low temps the teams managed the long day and the ILS Proton now stands vertical on the pad, always a great sight!

vertical Proton

Proton on the pad

October 16, 2013

What a wonderful day for everyone at the hospital.  The final amount raised for the children and families at the hospital was over 31000 rubles which is about $1000.00.  We could not have done this without the drive of Crispin Mendoza from SSL.  His heart and his love of children made all of this possible.  The hospital staff was so gracious, the mom’s and families so thankful, but the smiles on the faces of the children were just priceless.  No doubt the best day of the campaign so far!

bringing in the goodies

babies melt hearts



October 15, 2013

Today marks a few milestones for this launch of Sirius FM-6, firstly the Breeze-M successfully completed day one of fueling and secondly today is Rob Briskman’s birthday! As a co-founder of Sirius XM Radio, Rob has been here since the beginning, literally.  He took his initial site visit to Baikonur nearly 15 years ago and noted the rustic facilities and the vodka! Despite the abundance of vodka the drink of choice for this birthday celebration is a gin martini with a twist of lemon! Cheers to Rob and wishes for many more birthdays to come!



Rob Briskman


October 14, 2013

Post horseshoe tournament hospital charity trip is scheduled for Wednesday, day 2 of Breeze M fueling.  With huge thanks to all the teams out here in Baikonur.  Nearly 25000 rubles, clothes and toys too, will be donated to the children and to the hospital.  Many thanks to ILS, SSL, the Swede’s, SiriusXM, and KhSC too…just outstanding on everyone’s part.  I am proud to be a part of this team.


October 13, 2013

A Sunday here in Baikonur and since there is no football to watch or lawns to mow the SSL and SiriusXM teams took the opportunity to head into Baikonur town.  In hall 111 the integrated launch vehicle (ILV) is being readied for its move to the transporter which will take it out to fueling in a few days’ time.  This launch is quickly approaching...


October 11, 2013

Today we had the opportunity to sign the company logos that are on the payload fairing (PLF).  This is a special day for all.  Each team member is given the chance to sign their name and send a message to colleagues or loved ones back home.  It is a way of literally leaving your mark on the mission.  It’s also pretty exciting to know that your message is up in space, for a short time anyway. The PLF, with all of its messages makes a great backdrop for a group photo op as well!


October 8, 2013

With the SC mated to the Breeze-M and horizontal in Hall 101 a few of the SSL folks are now heading out tomorrow, no better reason for a BBQ!  Tonight’s fiesta is Mexican themed.  Tacos and Quesadillas are on the menu.  Hmm…what to drink?  Also, thanks to Pavel and Leonid of Khrunichev who were able to arrange a tour of Hall 111 for the departing SSL team members.  Seeing the Proton up close is definitely an impressive sight.

October 6, 2013

Tonight was the exciting end (of round 1) to the horseshoe tournament.  Thanks to all who participated include RUAG, Pinkerton, Sirius, SSL, Khrunichev and ILS.  And the winner is... the Baikonur hospital!  All money raised, including donations of children’s toys, clothing, office supplies and more, all brought to Baikonur by the SSL folks is to benefit the hospital.  A trip is planned for next week to deliver the items and tour the hospital.  Giving back feels great!

October 4, 2013

Tonight kicked off the horseshoe tournament benefiting the local hospital. Teams from Sirius, SSL, ILS and Khrunichev took turns heaving the shoe trying to outdo each other.  Playing for fun and a great cause, some took it more seriously than others! And even those watching enjoyed the spectacle, not to mention the food and drink!  I’ll be sure to write with the final results after round two later this week.

local beverages

September 26, 2013

Baikonur is an often barren landscape however alive with nature and wildlife. I took the opportunity to snap a few pictures of the locals.  The unlikely friendship between cats and foxes is commonplace here.  Maybe they work together to keep their often surprisingly plump bellies full.  Also, making for great photos this time of year are the flowers.  The hotel has a great little flower garden to brighten the landscape!

September 22, 2013

Being on a launch campaign means you often spend national holidays away from home.  It also means sometimes your own personal holiday, your birthday, occurs during a campaign. ILS Program Director, Mike Thee, celebrated his on September 22nd. Despite being away from loved ones birthdays are still made special with an elaborately decorated cake. Knowing Mike’s love for all things Philadelphia Eagles his cake was adorned with a football!  I wonder what he wished for when blowing out the candles?!

September 9, 2013

Regardless of how many times SSL has been to 92A50, at the beginning of every campaign, Khrunichev requires each manufacturer to have a bit of instruction on their equipment.   Safety is a top priority while on launch campaign.  After their “refresher discussion” SSL is now hard at work preparing and testing the satellite.  Even if there is a language barrier you can always count on the descriptive caricature illustrating the hazard of the lift! 

September 8, 2013

Tonight we took advantage of the great weather to have a BBQ with the mission teams from the Sirius FM6 campaign as well as those here supporting the Astra 2E launch campaign.  It’s a great night when we can have customers Sirius and SES, manufactures SSL and Astrium coming together with Khrunichev and ILS for some BBQ.  It just proves that we’re all a team out here in Baikonur. 

September 6, 2013

With the landing of the Antonov at Yubileny the Sirius Fm-6 launch campaign is underway.  The SSL, Sirius, Khrunichev and ILS teams headed out to the airfield to meet the plane.  Bridget Neville, VP of Satellite Engineering & Operations for Sirius Satellite Radio, was finally able to make the journey to Baikonur for this launch of FM-6 and she was a trooper.  She returned from the offload tired and a bit more suntanned than when she began the day, but said she found the day very interesting. Seeing the famous Antonov cargo jet for the first time and witnessing the delicate heavy-lift procedures and the fantastic coordination by the teams of multinational experts is quite a sight!    

  Bridget Neville

Connect with ILS

Facebook Twitter YouTube Linkedin