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PLF Encapsulation

February 2, 2010 7:09 am (GMT)
ILS Launch Team

It is time to say goodbye to the SC, visually anyway, as the PLF is ready to be installed. With the SC horizontal and hovering above a rail track, the bottom half of the fairing is situated on a rail car below. It sits in a cradle and is hand cranked into position under the SC. Once that is in place, the upper half of the fairing is hoisted up by crane and positioned above the prone SC and lowered to mate with the bottom PLF half. Under the eyes of the watchful team from Orbital, KhSC's operations were successful and the Intelsat-16 SC was officially encapsulated in preparation for its ride into orbit. This newly assembled configuration is now called the ascent unit (AU). Once the two PLF halves are secured, the team will spend two days performing electrical tests and verifying that, although encapsulated, it is still possible to communicate with the SC. The term "team" certainly applies in this case, as a veritable plethora of activities are ongoing while the Orbital folks and the Khrunichev teams work together performing pre-launch testing. Time now to mate the AU to the Proton launch vehicle! The fun continues...

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