BAIKONUR COSMODROME, Kazakhstan, Sept 29, 2008 — Pre–launch activities with the Astra 1M – a commercial telecommunications satellite built by EADS Astrium for SES ASTRA – have begun at Baikonur.
Containers with the spacecraft and its ground support equipment arrived at the launch site aboard a cargo plane operated by Russian “Polyot” airline, on Saturday, September 27.
The spacecraft will be hoisted onto a test stand (in a clean room of Integration–and –Test Building 92A -50) by Khrunichev/EADS Astrium team today, and then a detailed visual inspection of the spacecraft will be fulfilled.
This will be followed by series of routine individual processing and testing of the spacecraft – to be carried out by EADS Astrium – to prepare it for further mating with the Breeze M upper stage.
Khrunichev team is expected its Breeze M upper stage to arrive from Moscow at Baikonur in a couple of days. Meantime pre-scheduled individual processing of the Proton rocket, adapter system and payload fairing are being carried out by Khrunichev in another area of the same Building 92A-50.
The Astra 1M is scheduled for launch on a Proton Breeze M launch vehicle in late October.
International Launch Services and SES ASTRA have signed a contract to launch the ASTRA 1M spacecraft on a Proton booster. This will be the seventh ILS Proton launch for SES ASTRA.