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October 15, 2010


We have had a successful mission with the Proton M Breeze M rocket, carrying the XM-5 satellite built by Space Systems/ Loral. We have had confirmation that the satellite separated from the vehicle on schedule at 12:05 a.m. EDT, or 04:05 UTC, 9 hours and 12 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 14, 2010

We have confirmed that the Breeze M upper stage has successfully completed its 3rd burn 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 11:46 p.m. EDT, or 03:46 GMT. Separation of the XM-5 spacecraft is scheduled to follow the 5th burn completion by about 13 minutes.

October 14, 2010

As the Breeze M upper stage of our Proton M rocket continues its climb into space with the XM-5 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 20 minutes; after that the additional propellant tank will be jettisoned. All this will happen while the vehicle is again out of range of a ground station. We should reacquire the vehicle shortly after the APT is jettisoned.

October 14, 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.

October 14, 2010

We have liftoff! of the Proton M Breeze M rocket and the XM-5 satellite.

October 12, 2010

The last few days have been busy at Baikonur. The mating and testing of the Integrated Launch Vehicle (ILV) is complete. The Breeze M has been fueled and, at 06:30 sharp on Monday morning, the ILV was rolled out of the Breeze M Fueling Area to make its way to Pad 24.

The ILV reached the pad at about 08:30 and was met by the remaining launch campaign crew. The verticalization of the ILV is always an awesome thing to watch. It was a beautiful day, if a little windy, and everyone got some great pictures.

There are some more busy days ahead of us as we count down the days until launch. Launch rehearsals are well underway, the ILV blessing will be on Thursday, and then we will just be counting down the hours leading up to launch on Thursday afternoon/evening.

September 30, 2010

No, it is certainly not all work out here in Baikonur.  As you may have noticed, we are still taking advantage of the nice weather by BBQ’ing as often as we can.  But with the sun going down earlier every day, there are still a couple of hours for everyone to try and stay sharp at their favorite summertime sports.  Though there seems to be daily volleyball and basketball games interspersed with some football every now and again, we have also had a few other special events in the evenings.  The Loral wiffle ball world series was quite the spectacle.  For those more adept at accuracy, we have installed a horse shoe pit, not that anyone was THAT accurate.  And the evening breezes are perfect for kite flying, and there is also a two mile bike route for those seeking more strenuous activity.

To date, the main event has to have been the closest to the pin tournament that was held during one of the recent BBQ’s.  Our one hole golf course, with the world’s largest sand trap, proved a challenge to all competitor’s.  And while the defending champion was dethroned, no one is choosing to retire from their present careers to join the PGA Tour.


September 29, 2010

The SS/ Loral Propulsion Team completed their fuel and oxidizer loading operations over the weekend in a very efficient manner. They were all back at the hotel before the rest of us even had time to realize they were gone.

Since 92A-50 is closed during propellant loading, many people took a rare day off to go into Baikonur Town. Being the first weekend after the Autumnal Equinox, the Town held its Fall Festival. It was reported that the Town was much livelier than usual and everyone had a great time at the Market and catching time for a pizza at Palermo’s.

The completion of propellant loading was celebrated by a barbeque hosted by SS/ Loral. The event was made even more unique with the crowning of several people with Kazakh hats, brought by the head of the Russian fueling team.

With the SC loaded with propellant, SC standalone operations are winding down. Everyone is preparing for a couple of long days at the beginning of joint operations on Friday.


[url=]For more pictures please click here[/url]

September 15, 2010

The Sirius XM-5 spacecraft arrived on a beautiful Sunday morning. The offload was completed in near record time and the train carrying the spacecraft arrived to 92A-50 at 20:30. After a long day of Fitcheck on Monday and the beginning of standalone operations on Tuesday, the launch team had a barbeque to celebrate the start of the campaign and the arrival of the propulsion team.

September 11, 2010

All of the teams have assembled in Baikonur. The early team arrived on Wednesday to open the facility after its first shut-down in over a year. The team from SS / Loral arrived on Friday, just in time to see the launch of a Progress mission in Area 31. Everyone is settling in and preparing for the SC Arrival on Sunday morning. 

September 10, 2010

Welcome to the sixth ILS Proton launch campaign for 2010 – the launch of the Space Systems/Loral-built, SIRIUS XM-5 satellite for SIRIUS XM Radio. Follow along with the mission team as they prepare for the launch.

October 27, 2009

Welcome to the sixth ILS Proton launch campaign for 2009 – the launch of the Thales Alenia Space-built, W7 satellite for Eutelsat of France. Follow along with the mission team as they prepare for the launch.

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