The EchoStar XIV launch campaign is off to a good start. The 54" of snow in Washington, DC could not stop the team from arriving in Baikonur on schedule. Several participants from both ILS and SS/L have been here many times, but for some it is a new experience. The first order of business is for all team members to attend a safety briefing, which is presented by Khrunichev, SOS International and ILS. Each group has a different focus on safety, but all parties involved have the same goal: to keep all team members safe and healthy.
The team is occupying the Fili Hotel, which is a comfortable home away from home. It's obviously convenient for everyone to be located in the same building, but it's also fun, as people from different companies can socialize together with activities ranging from movies and rock band in the t.v. room to barbecues at the pavilion in front of the hotel.
For the most part, the weather cooperated during off load of the SS/L spacecraft from the Antonov to the railcar. Khrunichev and SS/L worked professionally together with amazing efficiency. Everyone was pleased with the process, and once the spacecraft arrived at the processing facility, operations began in earnest. The next phase of spacecraft operations will be electrical testing performed by SS/L, while Khrunichev simultaneously prepares the launch pad, Proton, payload fairing, payload adapter and the Breeze M.