Centenario | Noteable Reference

Today is a very special anniversary for ILS and a notable one for the commercial launch industry: the anniversary of the first commercial ILS Proton launch with SES’s Astra 1F satellite 19 years ago today. With 88 commercial flights to date, we thank our global customers for their continued support and trust in ILS Proton.

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Centenario | Welcome to Baikonur BBQ

Being away from family and friends for launch campaign especially during significant holidays is never an easy thing.  As a way to welcome our first time customer, the mission team and to cap off an impeccable start to launch campaign operations, Boeing did what they also do best…threw some meat on the barbie and produced an outstanding good ole fashioned American barbeque!
This team building exercise was an unparalleled success!

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Centenario | SC Off-Load

A cool and breezy spring day provided the back drop for the arrival of the Antonov carrying the Centenario SC. The amalgamated teams performed effortlessly to have a flawless off-load with the SC arriving safe and sound via train at the 92A50 processing facility at 0100 on 3 April. After some well-deserved rest, the respective teams were back in action and successfully performed the SC fitcheck prior to transferring the SC into H103A for SC standalone processing.
A job well done!

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Centenario | Main Team Arrival

The weather was cold but clear for our arrival on April Fools Day, and the start of the Centenario launch campaign. We were happy to find no pranks waiting for us when we landed! The Proton LV is currently being assembled in Hall 111, with the Breeze M, PLF, and PLA all being prepped in Hall 101. The Centenario spacecraft has been loaded on the Antonov-124 and is en route to Baikonur from LAX.

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I5F2 Rollout!

On a crisp, crystal clear winter morning a few brave mission team members bundled up for the frigid temperatures and stood with bated breath and excited energy as the ILS Proton with I5F2 SC onboard completed its lasts checks before rolling out like clockwork at 630 am to launch pad 39. Regardless of the temperatures, there is always a great sense of pride watching the mighty Proton rocket pass by on its way to the pad as it represents a culmination of hard work, dedication and perseverance put in by multiple team members from around the globe towards one common goal of launching the I5F2 SC.  Next milestone ILV virticalization.

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Breeze M Fueling Done and Dusted!

With expert efficiency the KhSC fueling team has completed their hazardous fueling operations.  Due to the hazardous nature of the operations, the entire mission team was relocated to the hotels and had two days of down time.  Some of the team members took the opportunity to head to town to do shopping and try out some of the local restaurants.  Other’s played catch up with laundry, watched movies; some were treated to a visit to the Gargarin Museum and got an extensive guided tour, visit Yuri Gargarin’s house, explored the Buran mock-up and received a history lesson of the Baikonur Cosmodrome.

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Campaign Progress

Since SC arrival the team has been meticulously hard at work pulling many long hours to ensure that our t’s are crossed and I’s are dotted as we progress through numerous testing operations of both the SC, LV, Breeze-M, PLF and PLA respectively. All energies exerted have been rewarded with positive results.
This week our respective teams have been diligently working on preparations for SC fueling in Hall 103A, electrical testing of the Breeze-M located in Hall 101; pneumatic testing of the Launch Vehicle (rocket) in Hall 111.   Both the payload fairing and payload adapter are in Hall 101 ready for joint operations to begin.  A true hive of activity on every front!

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BBQ Time

No matter whether it is 122 °C (50°F) degree heat during the height of summer or -6°C (21.2°F) degrees during winter, there is always room for a BBQ.  A few members from the Boeing team braved freezing temperatures to bbq up some yummy ribs.  Quite naturally, they were demolished in record time.  Needless to say, there were no left overs for lunch the following day.  Our Russian colleagues had a fabulous time at the bbq although, I’m sure they think we are slightly mad to be bbqing at -6°C (21.2°F)  degrees with a blustery cold wind making its presence felt.  All cooks were dressed in full winter clothing…balaclava, gloves, coats and pants.

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Launch Team Arrival

The Inmsarsat-5 F2 launch campaign officially begun on 16 Dec 2014!  Quite different from the norm, the I5F2 campaign is a split campaign allowing most of the mission team to spend times with loved ones at home for the Christmas holidays.  A very welcome Christmas gift!
Knowing that the early team would be going home from the holidays, all efforts and energies were put into a seamless arrival in Baikonur, operation scheduling on point, and teamwork at its finest! Additional bonus was the fact that our team was able to experience and enjoy the Air Charter Service company’s Sukhoi Superjet (similar to Boeing 737) flying into Baikonur.  It’s the little things in life that really do make a huge impact and difference.

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SC Off-load

SC Arrival day came expeditiously.  A SC off-load planning meeting prior to the SC arrival ensured that all parties were on the same page and that our off-load progressed with precision timing. It’s truly amazing to watch many different teams work alongside each other as though they do this on a daily basis.  Mercifully, Mother Nature was in fine form and put on a glorious winter day! Although a little chilly (nothing that a winter coat, hat, gloves and thermals could fix) the sun was shining, in an ice blue almost cloudless sky and a whisper of a breeze occasionally. Check out the photos in the photo gallery courtesy of our Inmarsat customer Dr. Franco Carnevale.

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Contact Us!

For the latest news and information, or if you have a question, please email ILS at contactus@ilslaunch.com