What a Weekend

The ILS launch team has settled in at Baikonur. Team members report that they celebrated Independence Day by reading Thomas Jefferson’s draft of the Declaration of Independence on the way to Yubileiny Airport at 0800 to offload the satellite test equipment, and then working until 1830. They had a picnic the following day to commemorate the holiday. Meanwhile, the spacecraft has landed! Early Sunday morning the Inmarsat-4 F3 satellite arrived at Yubileiny Airport aboard an AN-124-100 Ruslan aircraft owned by Russia’s Polyet cargo airlines. The satellite was taken to Building 92A-50 for assembly and testing. Everything else is going up to par, as well. Pictures soon, as well as some first-hand reports from the launch team…

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Welcome to the Inmarsat-4 F3 Blog

Welcome to the third ILS Proton launch campaign for 2008 – the launch of the EADS Astrium-built Inmarsat-4 F3 satellite for Inmarsat of London. Follow along with the launch team as they prepare for the mid-August mission.

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ILS Reception

ILS held a well-attended reception Monday night for customers at the DAR Constitution Hall. About 75-80 guests were there to enjoy the food and camaraderie. They also had the opportunity to tour the historic location, as well as enjoy the beautiful view of the Washington monument nearby.
[img]http://www.ilslaunch.com/assets/Images/Media/Satellite-08-BLOG/recptpic1.jpg[/img]

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Panel discussions

Frank McKenna, president of International Launch Services (ILS), took part in a very full panel Tuesday on “Launch Services: Pressure to Perform.” It also included his counterparts from several other launch providers, as well as satellite operators SES and Intelsat, and satellite manufacturers Orbital and Lockheed Martin. All were asked, “What is the most significant problem facing the industry today?”
Frank’s opinion: there must be a focus on performance. He cited the recent accomplishment of 6 successful Proton launches in less than 4 months. He noted that the launch business requires significant investment in infrastructure, and said the challenge is how to maintain a financially viable launch industry.

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ILS Booth

The booth is a great success with lots of visitors. Stop by for a latte or espresso at our little café, inside the booth.
[img]http://www.ilslaunch.com/assets/Images/Media/Satellite-08-BLOG/boothpic3.jpg[/img]

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And it begins…

It’s here! The biggest satellite industry trade show of the year. This afternoon we had our ceremony for the signing of the Al Yah Satellite Communications Co. (Yahsat) contract. Even though the contract was formally signed at the end of 2007, we decided to celebrate it this week since all parties were going to be in town for the show.

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Media Advisory Available

The official [url=http://www.ilslaunch.com/ils/news-020508/]Media Advisory[/url] has been released for the ILS Proton launch of THOR 5, including satellite coordinates for launch broadcast.

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Joint Operations

Jan. 25 marked a major milestone for the THOR 5 team. Orbital’s propellant team successfully completed loading the spacecraft with hydrazine fuel. This operation took the better part of the day and, because it was potentially hazardous, afforded another day of rest for most of the team. We all look forward to the successful completion of propellant loading operations, not just because it signifies the end of spacecraft standalone operations and a continuing positive progression of the launch campaign, but also because it means we get to throw a Post-Fueling Party. This feast occurred on Jan. 26. The few parties we have throughout the campaign are a great time for team members to relax, cut loose and bond in activities not directly related to the spacecraft or launch vehicle operations. As with any Russian get-together our party was not complete without a number of toasts made by KhSC, ILS and Orbital. Some team members decided to head out early, while the hardiest of us danced away into the night. [img]http://www.ilslaunch.com/assets/Images/Media/Thor-5/PLAmate2small.jpg[/img] Because standalone operations were at an end, we had no choice but to start joint operations on Jan. 28 with the mating of the THOR 5 Spacecraft to the KhSC payload adapter (or PLA). The PLA allows the spacecraft to rest comfortably on top of the Breeze M, which is the upper stage of the Proton M launch vehicle. The PLA also houses the Saab-built separation system, which will gently separate THOR 5 from the Breeze M when it reaches its destined geostationary orbit. Stay tuned for more updates regarding joint operations; including mating the SC/PLA assembly to the Breeze M, and the encapsulation of the whole structure into what we call the Ascent Unit or AU.

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Takin’ Care of Business

After a leisurely and uneventful 5-hour train ride, the spacecraft and its support equipment made it safe and sound to Building 92A-50. And yes, as the song says, it is now time for “takin’ care of business,” that business being preparation of the SC and the rocket for final assembly together. Many warm and rested personnel were on hand to meet the SC, unpack the train cars and begin a week’s worth of what is commonly known as stand-alone testing. It is a busy time for everyone involved in the campaign as the three stages of the Proton booster have been delivered to Khrunichev.

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Mission Accomplished

We have confirmation that the fourth, and final, burn sequence has been completed, and the Proton Breeze M carrying THOR 5 has injected the satellite into geostationary orbit. ILS’ mission is now complete. Thank you for joining us for another successful launch! [url=http://www.ilslaunch.com/ils/news-021108/]Click here[/url] for the press release. [url=http://streamvox.streamos.com/vyvx/ils021008/]Full 45-minute launch broadcast[/url] [url=http://www.ilslaunch.com/ils/thor-cbl.wmv]Click to view launch video clip[/url] [url=http://www.ilslaunch.com/news-020508/]Media Advisory[/url]

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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