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April 9, 2009

It is the end of another successful mission here at ILS. The ILS launch team members that were planning on returning to the US, have done so. The rest are preparing for the IndoStar II/ ProtoStar II launch in May. Thanks to everyone who followed along with the blog. Please stay tuned because the next launch is already in preparation.

April 4, 2009

We have had a successful mission with the Proton M Breeze M rocket, carrying the W2A satellite built by Thales Alenia Space for Eutelsat Communications. We have had confirmation that the satellite separated from the vehicle on schedule around 9:35 pm Eastern Time, or 01:35 GMT, 9 hours and 10 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.

April 3, 2009

We have confirmed that the Breeze M upper stage has successfully completed its 3rd & 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 begin around 9:15 pm EDT, or 01:15 GMT and last for approximately 6 minutes. Separation of the W2A spacecraft is scheduled to follow the 5th burn completion by about 15 minutes.

April 3, 2009

As the Breeze M upper stage of our Proton M rocket continues its climb into space with the W2A 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 the 4th burn will start. 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.

April 3, 2009

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.

April 3, 2009

We had a successful liftoff about 15 minutes ago of our Proton Breeze M rocket, which is carrying the W2A 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.

April 3, 2009

We have Liftoff! of the Proton M Breeze M rocket and the W2A satellite.

April 3, 2009

[img][/img] After the teams prepared the Ascent Unit and ground support equipment, KhSC began operations to transfer the signed and sealed AU to Hall 111 to be mated with the Launch Vehicle. After mating, final closeouts began of the newly formed Integrated Launch Vehicle. Once closeouts and systems checks completed successfully, the ILV was lifted onto the erector and moved by rail to the Breeze M fueling station where low pressure fuel and oxidizer loading was completed. At the end of the second day of loading, the State Commission met and authorized the rollout of the ILV to the launch pad. The teams gathered to witness the rollout of the ILV from the Breeze M fueling station to Launch Pad 39 at 06h45 on L-3. Approximately 3 hours later the team reassembled at the Pad to watch the erector lift the ILV into its new vertical position. The ILV was then moved to the MST where it will be tested and finalized for launch. Comprehensive systems testing is completing and the launch rehearsal has started. Preparation for launch activities will keep us busy until the Government Commission meeting concludes tonight with an authorization to launch.

March 26, 2009

[img][/img] Fueling operations completed after a day of MON loading, a reconfiguration day for the ground support equipment, and one day to load MMH. Fuel and propellant loading completed nominally, the SC was then weighed and finalized. Thales personnel prepared the ground support equipment and SC for the mating with the Payload Adapter. In parallel to fueling and SC closeout operations, the PLA was installed on the PLA stand. The lifting beam was installed on the SC and lifted from the integration dolly and placed on the PLA. Clampband installation and tensioning completed with nominal results. After comprehensive testing, the authorization to mate the PLA and SC to the Breeze M was given by Eutelsat and KhSC. Checkout testing completed and the next day all personnel supported the SC/PLA/BM (now called the Orbital Unit) tilting into the horizontal position on the Universal stand. SC closeouts and battery charging continued and the configuration of the ground transit cables with the launch vehicle were validated. Encapsulation of the OU with the PLF halves finished and the PLF logo was affixed for the teams to sign. Next scheduled event for KhSC is to prepare the Ascent Unit (Encapsulated OU) for transportation to H111 by railcar, for integration with the Launch Vehicle.

March 13, 2009

[img][/img] Thales and KhSC setup for the fitcheck most of 9 March, so the 10th could be the day to watch RUAG shine. The Swedish team measured, tensioned, measured again, and notated that things fit right into place. All parties agreed that this was worth the thousands of hours of work and anticipation. The variety and complexity of the SC and PLA arrangement was a marvel of nature, or it would have been, if it wasn’t all man-made. The Breeze-M Upper Stage moved to the fueling station for its two days of loading and upon return, will be the first piece installed on the tilter. So with the fit check complete, the Breeze-M partially fuelled and the PLA back in H101, the satellite will finish stand alone operations before the authorization is given by Eutelsat to proceed with propellant loading operations.

March 6, 2009

Stand alone operations are ongoing for Thales and KhSC. While Thales performs electrical and mechanical Spacecraft checkouts in H103A, KhSC works in H101 to prepare for operations on the Breeze-M which arrived at Yubileiny and was transported by truck to 92A-50 on 4 Mar. The Launch vehicle is finishing pneumatic testing and after cleaning and testing, the payload fairing halves are resting in storage until integration. RUAG specialists are scheduled to arrive within the week to begin work on the separation system. Coordination meetings between the teams are increasing in frequency and duration which means the Spacecraft and payload adaptor fitcheck is just on the horizon.

March 3, 2009

[img][/img] Early and main team arrival and check-in to the hotels completed just in time to watch a launch of a Federal Satellite on a Proton K Block DM from pad 24. After facility acceptance of 92A-50, office setup and control room configuration began. The Antonov landed around 11h45 on 28 Feb at Yubileiny Airfield carrying the W2A SC and ground support equipment. Watching the 5 hour off load of the Antonov and on load to the railcar was a “miracle of Russian technology.” After the 5-6 hour train ride to 92A-50, the train backed into Hall 101 around 23h00. The late shift began work unloading the SC container and equipment from the railcars and by 06h00 we were able to get the first glimpse of the SC outside of the container.

July 18, 2008

Welcome to the first ILS Proton launch campaign for 2009 – the launch of the W2A satellite for Eutelsat, built by Thales Alenia Space. Follow along with the launch team as they prepare for the end of march mission.

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