Launcher Erected

[img]http://www.ilslaunch.com/assets/Images/Media/W2A-Blog/erectionblog.jpg[/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.

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Preparing for Integration with Launch Vehicle

[img]http://www.ilslaunch.com/assets/Images/Media/W2A-Blog/FEC0019blog.jpg[/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.

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Moving Along Nicely

[img]http://www.ilslaunch.com/assets/Images/Media/W2A-Blog/satblog.jpg[/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.

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Launch Preparation Continues

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.

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Arriving at Baikonur

[img]http://www.ilslaunch.com/assets/Images/Media/W2A-Blog/scblog.jpg[/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.

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Successful Mission!

We are happy to announce the successful conclusion of another launch mission! The Proton M Breeze M rocket has carried to geostationary transfer orbit the Ciel II satellite, built by ThalesAlenia Space for the Ciel Satellite Group. Spacecraft separation occurred on schedule, at 17:55 EST. Total launch time was 9 hours, 12 minutes.

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Launch Highlight Video Clips

Video clips of the launch are now posted in Real Video and Windows Media Player formats. You can find them [url=http://www.ilslaunch.com/ciel-II-launch-highlights/]here[/url]!

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Breeze M completes 1st burn

We have confirmed completion of the Breeze M’s first burn. The second burn should commence in about 54 minutes and will fire for just under 18 minutes. This will happen while the Orbital Unit is out of range of a receiving station, so we’ll be back when we have reacquired the vehicle and confirmed that the second burn has been completed.

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1st Burn Firing

The first-, second-, and third-stage separations of the Proton M vehicle have been completed. Now it’s up to the Breeze M upper stage to take over, and the vehicle has just begun its first burn. We’ll announce completion of the burn as soon as we have confirmation.

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Liftoff!

We have liftoff of the Ciel II satellite, powered by the Proton M Breeze M rocket. During the first 10 minutes of this 9-hour, 12-minute mission, the three stages of the Proton M vehicle will ignite and separate in turn. This will be followed by the first burn of the Breeze M upper stage. That should happen in about 11 minutes. We’ll be back with an update then.

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