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.

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