As we get closer to our launch date, the number of activities is increasing…
One of the more “technical” operations that we have to perform is signing the payload fairing. The biggest decision is what to write and to whom one dedicates his or her message. Traditionally designees are parents, children and loved ones. All of the names on the fairing are, in essence, tributes from the launch team members.
Once the signing festivities completed, the rail transporter was positioned in Hall 101 so the ascent unit (AU) could be lifted from the tilter and positioned over the transporter. The transporter is a locomotive car designed to support the AU on its journey to Hall 111. Hall 111 houses the complete Proton M/Breeze M rocket, which will take the Nimiq 6 satellite into orbit.
Very little time was wasted before the AU was mated to the launch vehicle (LV). With the AU on its rail dolly, the Khrunichev specialists hand cranked the unit and aligned it with the LV. Mating operations were performed and there were no anomalies. It was finally one complete unit, known as the Integrated Launch Vehicle (ILV). Needless to say, there was a lot of excitement as everyone saw all of the pieces together for the first time. All of the teams are now wrapping up preparations for the final leg of a long journey.