Start of the EchoStar XIV Campaign

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.

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Planning Meeting

For the first few weeks of the launch campaign, a planning meeting begins each morning promptly at 09:30. Representatives from EchoStar, ILS, SS/L, Khrunichev, Zerkt, DB Salyut, Khrunichev Telecom, ILS Logistics, Pinkerton, SOS International and DTSA support the meeting. The first order of business is the local weather report, followed by Khrunichev’s overview of the status of the Proton launch vehicle, the payload fairing, the payload adapter, the Breeze M, and the launch pad. It’s then SS/L’s turn to report on their preparations of the EchoStar 14 spacecraft, and the meeting wraps up with a review of the processing schedule for the next three days. In addition, any issues or special coordination requests from either SS/L or Khrunichev are discussed and resolved. It’s not all work, though, because the meetings provide opportunities to lightly socialize with our campaign friends and participate in traditional activities such as signing the campaign posters and banners.

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Mate to Breeze M

After a couple of days of fueling it’s time to start the mating process. It takes several different teams to get through the next set of critical activities. So we started with a group meeting to ensure we were all on the same page. The team work paid off because the SC has been mated to the adapter, lifted onto the Breeze M and prepared for the encapsulation in the payload fairing (PLF).

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PLF Signing and PLF Encapsulation

This has been a very busy week for all of us. One of the more “technical” operations that we perform during the campaign is the signing of the payload fairing by the entire launch team. Each of the team members takes a turn climbing up the ladder, putting their personal touches on the fairing logos and then climbing back down the ladder to safety. The biggest decisions are what to write and whom to dedicate the launch to: parents, children and loved ones are named. It’s a great photo opportunity for the team and the last thing we do prior to mating the AU to the launch vehicle.

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EchoStar XIV Mission Success!

We have had a successful mission with the Proton M Breeze M rocket, carrying the EchoStar XIV satellite built by Space Systems/Loral. We have had confirmation that the satellite separated from the vehicle on schedule at 23:37 p.m. EST, or 03:37 GMT, 9 hours and 10 minutes after liftoff.

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Contact Us!

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