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). One of the teams is the RUAG specialists who install the clampband, which holds the SC to the adapter. After the SC/adapter unit is mated to the upper stage, the whole assembly is tilted over horizontally. We all held our breath during the tilting because the EchoStar XIV SC is the heaviest to travel on Proton to date at over 14,000 pounds!


SC Fueling Completed!

So far, all of the SC standalone operations and testing for the EchoStar XIV campaign have been nominal. This week’s SC fueling operation was no exception… uneventful! In the past couple of days the SS/L propellant team has been the center of activities here in Baikonur. The EchoStar XIV SC required two separate and unique fueling days, one for the oxidizer load and a second day for the hydrazine fuel. Because the propellant loading is a hazardous operation, the building was cleared and all non-essential personnel spent the time enjoying some of the local culture, shopping the market in town, going to the Gagarin Museum and/or just taking in the sights around our hotel. After seeing one of the Cosmodrome’s first computers at the Gagarin Museum, the SS/L team is really thankful for today’s improved technology. How things have changed… check out the [url=]photos[/url]! Everyone is looking forward to Joint Operations which will start 7 March 2010.


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.


Kazakhstan Beauty

[img][/img] [img][/img] [img][/img] Kazakhstan is filled with natural beauty. As these photos show, stunning sunrises, magnificent wildlife and unusual hoarfrost are some innate examples of the diversity of the earth’s beauty found in this corner of the world.


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. 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.


Welcome to the EchoStar XIV Blog

Welcome to the second ILS Proton launch campaign for 2010 – the launch of the Space Systems/Loral-built, EchoStar XIV satellite for EchoStar and Dish Network. Follow along with the mission team as they prepare for the launch.


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