The “Consent to Load Propellants” meeting was held between Intelsat and Orbital Sciences. It’s a critical step, in that it allows the load of highly hazardous chemicals into the tanks on board the SC. It’s not an operation that you want to repeat or — in the worst case — reverse! After this review was completed, we held our Propellant Loading meeting where we reviewed the readiness of all systems, organizations, processes and procedures for loading SC propellants. Everyone agreed that we were ready, and the appropriate certificates were issued and presented to the KhSC program team. Orbital’s propellant team then loaded the hydrazine fuel onto the SC (no oxidizer will be used for this mission, as the Intelsat-16 SC will be injected directly into near-GSO). This operation, which took approximately eight hours, marks the completion of the propellant loading phase of SC preps. Kudos to the Intelsat and Orbital teams for an excellent operation! It all went smoothly and according to plan. Because the propellant loading is a hazardous operation, the building was cleared and the rest of the non-essential personnel spent the day relaxing. We will continue with some post-fueling testing of the SC, flight closeouts of all thermal blankets and removal of some Remove Before Flight (RBF) items over the next several days until the start of Joint Operations.
01 Feb 2010