Monsters, Gangs, Museums, Oh My

Here’s what the launch team has been up to this past week. [b]25-26 August[/b] Prep-py Mcgoo vs. The Prop Monster The SC contractor has been testing and verifying that the SC is healthy, preparing to load propellants and configuring the SC for launch. While these tests are being conducted, the propellant loading team is completing their checkouts and preparing themselves and equipment for the upcoming days of fueling. [b]27 August[/b] The Gang Goes to Baikonur Some of the team members took advantage of the opportunity to visit the town of Baikonur. One of the warmer days, they were able to enjoy shopping, walk the town and concluded the trip at the local Pizza Restaurant, Palermo’s. It was a great day to get away from the Cosmodrome and sample some of the local food and shops. Arriving back, Astrium held a small barbeque at the Kometa. [b]28 August[/b] The Gang does Paperwork The team spent a very busy day reviewing the operational procedures, making sure all precautionary tasks were performed and in place, and that all essential personnel were ready to support the fueling operations. [b]29 August[/b] The Gang Gets Lifted The Nimiq 4 team was invited to view the launch of a Dnepr rocket from Area 31 of the Cosmodrome today. The warm weather and clear skies allowed us to view the rocket lift off and watch as it distanced itself from earth…like a rocket! It was simply amazing to watch the lift-off and wait for the sound to reach us. It only took seconds before it was completely out of our sight leaving only a trail of smoke as a reminder. [b]30 August[/b] The Gang Goes Overboard Building 92A-50 was reduced to essential personnel to support the first day of oxidizer loading. All teams were monitoring throughout the day as the progress of the prop team was announced via the radio. In between updates, the rest of the Nimiq 4 team enjoyed a Pétanque tournament. At the end of the day, Astrium congratulated everyone on a job well done with a banquet, inviting Khrunichev, Pinkerton security Telesat and ILS. Needless to say we worked hard enough into the night to really enjoy the rarity of a day off! [b]31 August[/b] A Day at the Museum After the Saturday night festivities and since we were all given the day “off” the gang boarded the bus for an afternoon visit to the Gagarin Museum at Baikonur Cosmodrome. Many thanks go out to Khrunichev for accommodating their visitors with a very personalized tour. The customer was very pleased to find the Launch campaign photograph of the Anik F1R which included two of our customer representatives that are supporting the Nimiq 4 launch campaign! [b]1 September[/b] The Gang Gets Relaxed Khrunichev extended an extraordinary trip deep into Kazakhstan over 1 and a half hours bus ride to “The Zone of Relaxation” for our hardworking customer. It was hard to believe the resort is located in the middle of the desert, but it does exist and provided a day of sun, cool breezes, the opportunity to swim in a lake and a pool, sulfur springs and the chance to relax, something hard to do when working on a launch campaign with such a compressed schedule. Oh did I forget to mention the customer requested the company of two ILS? It was awesome. Customer and ILS reps were very grateful to Khrunichev and our very friendly host.

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Burn After Reading…

[img]http://www.ilslaunch.com/assets/Images/Media/Nimiq-4-Blog/ILS-Green-team.jpg[/img] The team has been busy making sure things run smoothly in Baikonur, but they took some time to give us a rundown of what’s been happening as of late. Can you handle the [b]juicy details[/b] of this oh so [b]top secret[/b] info, straight from the team themselves?! [b]20 August (The Beginning…)[/b] Early Team Arrival What a warm welcome we received as our plane touched down at the Yubileyny airport. After a short stop through the customs “house” we headed to the hotel and were greeted by the remaining Inmarsat-4 F3 ILS team members. We were able to enjoy and celebrate for a few hours and then prepare for the arrival of the Main Team on 21 August followed by the NIMIQ 4 satellite on the 22nd. [b]21- 22 August (The Gathering…)[/b] Main Team and Spacecraft Arrival Main Team landed 21 August with no issues, all safe and sound. The following day the offload crew arrived at the airfield before 09:00 to watch as the Antonov carrying the NIMIQ 4 SC landed and taxied in. The crew unloaded the SC and three Sea-Land containers containing equipment and supplies for the campaign, and we watched as the crane moved the containers and eventually the SC onto the train which departed the airfield right on schedule, at exactly 14:00. Even the train was able to appreciate our compressed schedule, arriving a few hours later (but 30 minutes ahead of schedule) at the Processing Facility. The spacecraft container was offloaded from the railcar in Integration Hall 101. [b]23 August (The Tests…)[/b] SC Standalone Testing begins The cargo containers were unpacked and the satellite was gently removed from its container. Afterwards, the satellite was rolled into Hall 103A where it will be the subject of standalone operations over the next several days. [b]24 August (The Food: Good for ya, or Too Good for ya…)[/b] Work hard, eat harder – It’s time for a Mixer! We have our first Joint Operations Jamboree tonight! You’re invited to a party: Where: the FILI hotel When: 18:00 until … TBD What: cocktails, dinner and the first chance since team arrivals to catch up with past campaign colleagues and to meet the newcomers What to expect: A great time to be had by all

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Arrivals

The Spacecraft/Ground Support Equipment, Breeze M, Proton, and the Khrunichev/ILS/Telesat/Astrium teams have all arrived safely in Baikonur. The ILS team is unpacking and getting things up and ready to go. We look forward to hearing from them once they’ve settled in. Go Nimiq 4!

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The End of a Successful Mission

Today, the mission officially comes to an end. The last of the ILS Inmarsat-4 F3 launch team are on their way back to the states today. As we welcome our launch team home, we would like to thank everyone who made this mission successful. Good job everyone, and congratulations!

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Mission Successful

We have had a successful mission with the Proton M Breeze M rocket, carrying the Inmarsat-4 F3 satellite built by EADS Astrium for Inmarsat. We have had confirmation that the satellite separated from the vehicle on schedule at 3:46 am Eastern time, or 7:46 GMT, 9 hours and 3 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, then releasing the satellite into transfer orbit.

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Third and Fourth Burn

We have confirmed that the Breeze M upper stage has successfully completed its 3rd & 4th burns, 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 for around 3:25 a.m. Eastern time, or 7:25 GMT. Separation of the Inmarsat-4 spacecraft is scheduled to follow that by about 16 minutes.

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First and Second Burn

The Breeze M upper stage of our Proton M rocket continues its climb into space with the Inmarsat-4 F3 satellite. We have received confirmation that the 1st and 2nd burns of the upper stage occurred and shut down as scheduled. The next events are scheduled for around 2 hours from now. The Breeze M upper stage will ingite for a 3rd time and burn about 10 minutes; after that the additional propellant tank will be jettisoned, and the 4th burn will start. All this will happen in a span of about 20 minutes while the vehicle is again out of range of a ground station. We should reacquire the vehicle shortly after the 4th burn ends.

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Launch Day

It’s launch day for Inmarsat-4 F3 and Proton M/Breeze M [b]Current Status:[/b] T – 03:50 Weather prediction for lift-off: Few clouds / no precipitation / visibility 10 km / winds E @ 3 to 6 m/s / temp 20 to 23 deg C All systems report GO! No issues being worked.

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Stage Separations

We had a successful liftoff about 20 minutes ago of our Proton M Breeze M rocket, which is carrying the Inmarsat-4 F3 satellite. The three stages of the Proton vehicle have performed as planned, and it is up to the Breeze M upper stage to complete the mission. The upper stage has begun its first burn, which is scheduled to last around 8 minutes. The vehicle, however, is out of range of a receiving station and we will not re-establish contact for another hour and 10 minutes. At that time we expect to receive confirmation of both the first and second burns.

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