Search Results for: Baikonur Cosmodrome

Proton ASTRA 1F Launch Re-Scheduled

SAN DIEGO, March 18, 1996 – The first commercial Proton launch has been rescheduled for April 9 (early morning Baikonur time, early evening April 8 US Eastern time), International Launch Services (ILS) announced today. The launch had originally been scheduled for 28 March.


Proton Raduga Launch Anomaly Update

SAN DIEGO, Feb. 21, 1996 – On 19 February 1996, at 11:19 a.m. Moscow time, a Proton rocket launched the “Raduga” Russian communication satellite from Baikonur Cosmodrome in the Republic of Kazakhstan. Preliminary indications from the mission indicated that the first three stages of the Proton and the first burn on the Block DM upper stage were nominal. However, after ground controllers received indications of a problem with the second burn of the upper stage, they began an analysis of the telemetry to determine the nature of the anomaly.


And What’s a Schedule…Without Some Planned Breaks.

And it may be Baikonur, but the Polyot kitchen and dining hall were filled with the aromas of Italy…if only for one night. We took over the kitchen for a night and treated the team to Italian Night at the Cosmodrome. And while it was only frozen pizzas, it was all homemade spaghetti and meatballs, with a little East Coast and West Coast flare. Add some garlic bread and a tossed salad and you might have thought you were in Tuscany. Fortunately, there were no volunteers to sing “Areviderci Roma”.


SC Fueling Completed!

So far, all of the SC standalone operations and testing for the EchoStar XIV campaign have been nominal. This week’s SC fueling operation was no exception… uneventful! In the past couple of days the SS/L propellant team has been the center of activities here in Baikonur. The EchoStar XIV SC required two separate and unique fueling days, one for the oxidizer load and a second day for the hydrazine fuel. Because the propellant loading is a hazardous operation, the building was cleared and all non-essential personnel spent the time enjoying some of the local culture, shopping the market in town, going to the Gagarin Museum and/or just taking in the sights around our hotel. After seeing one of the Cosmodrome’s first computers at the Gagarin Museum, the SS/L team is really thankful for today’s improved technology. How things have changed… check out the [url=]photos[/url]! Everyone is looking forward to Joint Operations which will start 7 March 2010.


All Systems are Go

[align=center][img][/img][/align] [b]15 September[/b] “Yes sir” or “yeah sure” The gang was given approval by the Russian State commission yesterday evening to roll the Launch vehicle out to Pad 39. Following tradition, at 06h30 today we watched the ILV roll out. Once at the pad, we watched as the rocket slowly and quietly tilted and took another opportunity for photos. Later that night, ILS sponsored a SC Erection party. We were also graced with the presence of a few of the Russian State Commission members, and those able to clear their dance cards enjoyed a few spins around the Fili patio. [b]16 September[/b] Welcome “Baik” Today and over the next few days the technical teams will perform routine checks of the ILV. The schedule is proceeding nominally and has allowed for some of the gang to spend time developing other launch vehicles. After another long day, Astrium hosted a dinner at the Kometa to welcome a few Astrium and Telesat personnel who arrived late in the evening. [b]17 September[/b] The gang gets delayed So it’s getting to be that time of year. Some of the veterans to the Cosmodrome say there are two ways to know the weather is changing out here. One, it rains. The other way to tell something big is coming, ominous clouds. The morning of 16 Sept. the ground was wet and today the sky was cloudy. The temperature dropped and the wind has picked up. I won’t mention the elephant in the room, as there is an official press release. The gang just wanted to remind you that when conversations are awkward, people talk about the weather.. [b]18 September[/b] The gang is on standby All teams continued to perform final SC checks, complete paperwork and for some of the ILS team, prepare for the next campaign. We anxiously awaited the arrival of Russian Commission members, as their plane carried the replacement units for the Launch Vehicle. Installation and then testing until late into the night produced positive results, and we are back on schedule (well, add 24hours and 1 minute).The few days of fall are over and winter is blowing in strong. Handicaps increase at the largest bunker of any golf course in the world and while most people are adapting with layers, others are still holding out for Buffet to show up. [b]19 September[/b] Guess who’s coming to the Russian State Commission, Yar. All hands hoay! After a brief final morning meeting, the gang headed for the Launch Pad to watch the blessing of the rocket ceremony. Nothing says “good luck” like a wet slap in the face with a horse hair brush. No, really. It may seem strange, but it’s tradition and it is another aspect that makes working in Baikonur so unique. Other note worthy events for the day: the VIP’s arrived this afternoon, it was international talk like a pirate day and the Russian Government Commission meeting is to take place tonight at 20h00.


Safety first

This past week the team has been focused on with what we call standalone operations. During this period Orbital conducted mechanical and electrical tests on THOR 5 to confirm that the spacecraft is operational and ready for its trip into orbit. I am pleased to announce that these tests were all completed successfully. THOR 5 is now being readied to have its fuel tanks filled. This is a potentially extremely hazardous operation, for which the very capable Orbital propellant team has been carefully preparing. Before this operation can be undertaken, though, our team was required to evacuate the Processing Facility for the better part of two days. This was because the Breeze M upper stage for this weekend’s Proton mission with the Russian Express satellite was being fueled just outside the facility. So for the safety of the whole team we got a two-day break. Many members used this time off to rest, while others decided to take a trip (or two) into Baikonur Town and to the Yuri Gagarin Museum, on the grounds of the Cosmodrome. Baikonur Town is a very interesting place full of nice people, good food and drink, and bargains to be had for those team members who decided to do a little shopping. With our two-day break coming to a close the whole team must now prepare for fueling THOR 5, which is occur Friday.


Unpacking the Spacecraft

Beginning late on Sunday, and carrying on through the early hours of Monday, the team undertook the task of unpacking the THOR 5 spacecraft from its container. It was necessary to complete this process quickly, as the THOR team had to be out of Processing Hall 101 Monday morning to make way for a Russian satellite coming into the same hall. That spacecraft, Express, is scheduled to be launched Jan. 28 in the first flight for Proton in 2008. The unpacking process began with the removal of the lid of the spacecraft container. The spacecraft had been wrapped in special blankets to protect it from any possible contamination during its journey to Baikonur. Next, the blankets were carefully removed and our team got its first look at THOR 5 at the Cosmodrome. At this point a few satellite specialists inspected the spacecraft for any signs of damage. As expected, no damage was found, so we commenced removing our valuable package from its container. [img][/img] The spacecraft made the trip in the horizontal position. In order to remove it from the container, it had to be rotated to a vertical position, which was carefully and successfully completed by the team from Orbital. Now in its vertical position, THOR 5 was ready to be lifted by crane from its container and transferred a few feet onto a rolling dolly, where it will spend the next many days undergoing tests of all its critical systems. This is a period we refer to as Standalone Operations, where the spacecraft manufacturer, Orbital, performs tests on and ultimately fuels the spacecraft in anticipation of mating it with the Breeze M/Proton M launch vehicle.


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