AsiaSat 5 First Burn Completion

We have received confirmation of completion of the first burn. The vehicle is now scheduled to be out of range for about an hour, after which we will hear confirmation of the second burn.

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AsiaSat 5 Stage Separations

We had a successful liftoff about 10 minutes ago of our ILS Proton Breeze M rocket, which is carrying the AsiaSat 5 satellite. The three stages of the Proton vehicle have performed as planned, and it is up to the Breeze M upper stage to complete the mission. The upper stage has begun its first burn, which is scheduled to last around 7 minutes.

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Ready for Launch

[b]02 August – 08 August[/b] [b]AU Move to Hall 111 – 2 August 2009[/b] The Space Head Unit (SHU) also referred to as the Ascent Unit (AU) was moved today to Hall 111 for the integration the Proton M Launch Vehicle (LV). Once again we watched as the AU was carefully lifted and then lowered to the transport railcar. Just as before, the operation was performed with precision and careful attention to detail by a small army of KhSC specialists. Environmental conditioning of the AU was monitored and verified to ensure the proper climate for the AU was met before moving the move. All conditions were perfect for the move as the locomotive pulled in and connected to the transport railcar. A sigh of relief could be felt as the train slowly moved away with the AU. Next stop the Integration Hall (Hall 111). [b]Integration to the LV[/b] The Kosmotrans locomotive tugged steadily and true throughout the very short trip to the Integration Hall. Another small army of KhSC specialists eagerly waited as the AU arrived. No time was wasted in moving the it from the transportation railcar. Lifting of the AU was executed with the same precision that we witnessed in Hall 101. Once the AU is connected to the LV, it along with the LV are referred to as the Integrated Launch Vehicle (ILV). The ILV consists of four stages including the Breeze M, and will carry the AsiaSat 5 spacecraft (SC) into orbit. Move from Hall 111 to the Breeze M Fueling Shelter – 6 & 7 August 2009 After exhaustive mechanical and electrical testing, the ILV was hoisted high by KhSC crane operators and carefully placed on the transporter railcar. It is a really impressive sight to see the entire ILV lifted and suspended mid-air before it is lowered to the transporter. This process is critical and the number of personnel allowed in Hall 111 during the operation is strictly limited to those personnel directly involved in the operation. We were fortunate enough to be able to witness this process from the cameras located in the Security Office. The ILV began its short journey to the Breeze M Fueling Shelter to complete the final fueling processes of the Breeze M Upper Stage. As with SC fueling, the Breeze M fueling also is a two day process. During this time, all of the launch campaign personnel except a skeleton crew of Pinkerton’s and ILS spend two days away from the processing facility. For some, the time off is spent in town for sightseeing, touring Gagarin’s museum, and picking up some goodies for the people back at home. Others use the hours for playing video games, reading, watching DVD’s or taking bike rides around the compound. A few card games are thrown into the mix with some coming out winners and other’s ending a few rubles shorter than what they started with. [b]Breeze M Post Fueling BBQ – 7 August 2009[/b] To celebrate the successful Breeze M fueling operation, and the State Commission meetings authorization to rollout to the launch pad, ILS hosted a BBQ for all. Preparation time is imperative for a great BBQ so while some colleagues were preparing for and participating in the State Commission meeting, others were hard at work, marinating tri-tip and ribs, putting together handmade hamburgers, and making sure the beverages were on ice along with stoking the grills for our fiesta that started at 1800. [b]Rollout to the Launch Pad – 8 August 2009[/b] Traditionally, the ILV moves to the launch pad at 0630. This tradition dates back to the exact time that the Soyuz rocket that carried Yuri Gagarin; the first man in space, made its historic journey to the launch pad. Tradition was upheld and the train carrying the ILV and AsiaSat 5 SC departed exactly at 0630 on its two and a half hour journey to launch pad 39. The rather uneventful train trip out to the pad could be watched from various points around Area 95 and drew the biggest crowd of onlookers we have seen so far. Everyone who wanted to attend was permitted on the pad deck to watch the incredible sight as the assembled ILV rolled horizontally into position next to the flame bucket. Then it was hydraulically lifted to its vertical launch position. Talk about a photo opportunity. Pictures, videos, Russian and Americans alike… everyone tried to capture it in as many ways as they could. To commemorate this exciting day, team photos were taken with the ILV of course standing tall and proud in the background. In addition to team photos, it is also when the program directors, launch vehicle managers, and customers film their spots to be added into the broadcast on launch day. The anticipation continues to build as we move from the daily schedule to what is referred to as the 7/701 script. This is the official countdown schedule that will bring us to launch day!

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ILS Proton Successfully Launches AsiaSat 5 Satellite

 

BAIKONUR COSMODROME, Kazakhstan, August 12, 2009 – International Launch Services (ILS), a world leader in providing mission and launch services to the commercial satellite industry, successfully carried the AsiaSat 5 satellite into orbit today on an ILS Proton for Asia Satellite Telecommunications Company Limited (AsiaSat) of Hong Kong. This was the fourth commercial mission of the year for ILS and the sixth successful Proton launch of 2009. From contract signing to launch, the full integration of the AsiaSat 5 mission was completed in less than six months.

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AsiaSat 5 Mission Success!

We have had a successful mission with the ILS Proton Breeze M rocket, carrying the AsiaSat 5 satellite built by Space Systems Loral for Asia Satellite Telecommunications Company Ltd (AsiaSat). We have had confirmation that the satellite separated from the vehicle on schedule at 1:02 a.m.Eastern Time, or 05:02 GMT, 9 hours and 15 minutes after liftoff.

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AsiaSat 5 Third Burn Completion

We have confirmed that the Breeze M upper stage has successfully completed its 3rd burn, as well as jettisoning its additional propellant tank. The vehicle is now in a 5-hour coast period, during which we will have nothing to report. The 4th burn is scheduled to start around 12:40 a.m. EDT, or 04:40 GMT. Separation of the AsiaSat 5 spacecraft is scheduled to follow the 4th burn completion by about 15 minutes.

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AsiaSat Second Burn Completion

As the Breeze M upper stage of our Proton M rocket continues its climb into space with the AsiaSat 5 satellite, we have received confirmation that the 2nd burn of the upper stage occurred and shut down as scheduled. The next events are scheduled for about 2 hours from now. The Breeze M upper stage will ignite for a 3rd time and burn for approximately 17 minutes; after that the additional propellant tank will be jettisoned. All this will happen in a span of almost 20 minutes while the vehicle is again out of range of a ground station. We should reacquire the signal shortly thereafter.

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What a Week!

[b]26 July to 2 August[/b] [b]What a week![/b] This week saw many different stages of testing, processing and integration. Whether it was the last glimpse of the AsiaSat 5 SC before encapsulation, signing of the fairing, the move to Hall 111 or the integration of the Space Head Unit (SHU) to the Proton Launch Vehicle (LV), each phase left echoes of the hard work of many. With welcomed sighs of relief, the next phase of processing is underway. Now that the Orbital Unit (OU) has been encapsulated within the Payload Fairing (PLF) it is referred to as the SHU or Ascent Unit (AU). [b]Payload Fairing Signing[/b] The signing of the payload fairing is an opportunity for all of those personnel that have worked on this program to say their goodbyes, hellos and well wishes on the fairing logos to teammates and loved ones. These messages are not taken for granted. Many contemplate their message(s), intensely, before signing the fairing. Numerous signatures and messages proudly adorn the logos …little notes to loved ones, both here in the present and to those who have moved on, messages to their team members, well wishes for a successful flight, simple signatures (I was here and proudly contributed to this program). These messages are prominently displayed for all on the fairing. The fairing is one of the more notable features of the LV. As every piece of the rocket has its function, the fairings job is to house and protect the SC on its voyage to orbit. A more appropriate place to display the logos of the program and pride of the team would never be found. Along with the “fun” stuff (PLF Signing), all parties worked to the rigorous schedule to ensure the safety and success of the mission. Just as before, every step was meticulously noted and logged accordingly. [b]SC Move to the LV Integration Hall[/b] Once again, precision and finely coordinated efforts are evident as the AU was prepared for movement to the next processing phase. The carefully choreographed movement of the AU was an impressive sight. As the train pulled away with the AsiaSat 5 SC a sigh of relief could be felt. The next phase in processing is the integration of the AU to the Proton Launch Vehicle (LV). Cultural diversity is one of the program’s strengths. I have always been amazed that without regard to the number of different languages spoken or the unique cultural differences here, we are one very large inseparable team working to ensure the success of this mission. The professionalism and willingness to get the job done and done right is inspiring. One team, one mission…successful launch and deployment of the AsiaSat 5 SC. [b]Yurt Alert – 1 August[/b] For a special dinner, the head of Areas 95 arranged to have 10 people to travel to a traditional yurt on Saturday. A local camel and cattle rancher hosted the event, in which traditional Kazakh foods and beverages were sampled in a hand-made yurt which the family uses for most of the year. The host and his family were warm and inviting, and the children were wearing their finest clothes complete with AsiaSat 5 Launch Campaign patches and pins. As an extra treat, rides on the host’s camel and horse were provided, and all had a fantastic time. To top it all off, the guest of honor, our AsiaSat customer was provided the most coveted of all, a boiled goat’s head! [b]Mini BBQ – 2 August[/b] After the SC was moved to LV Integration Hall, ILS provided the team with a little time to relax with a mini BBQ at the Fili Hotel pavilions. The mood was tranquil and members from each team pitched in to help prep and cook the food. Tri-tipped beef, chicken, homemade hamburgers, sausage links and cold beer were served at 1800 hours under a sky canvassed with abundantly large white puffy clouds. A cool breeze blew gently as we relaxed, ate, listened to music and enjoyed each other’s company.

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For the latest news and information, or if you have a question, please email ILS at contactus@ilslaunch.com