Didn’t we just get here? But all of a sudden, we are deep into joint operations. With the spacecraft (SC) move to Hall 101, all teams have begun the task of finalizing the ascent unit. As scheduled, the SC was moved to Hall 101 and prepared for lifting onto the Breeze M. After some electrical checkouts, all eyes were on the Khrunichev (KhSC) tilter unit, awaiting the ever exciting rotation to horizontal. Watching thousands of pounds of flight hardware being rotated from an upright position, to a horizontal one is always a thrill. And very few people get to witness this move, as Proton is the only launch vehicle in the world that assembles horizontally. The coordinated schedule allows for both Space Systems/Loral (SS/L) and KhSC to perform electrical and mechanical closeouts of their respective hardware. This includes removal of non-flight hardware, and final pre-encapsulation electrical checks. This positioning of the orbital unit also allows for relatively easy installation of the payload fairing, which is our next important milestone.
So, regarding the first comment, how it seems like we just got here, we started at L – 31. But right now, we are sitting at L – 12. Time sure flies when you are having fun!