SIRIUS FM-6 | Baikonur Locals

Baikonur is an often barren landscape however alive with nature and wildlife. I took the opportunity to snap a few pictures of the locals.  The unlikely friendship between cats and foxes is commonplace here.  Maybe they work together to keep their often surprisingly plump bellies full.  Also, making for great photos this time of year are the flowers.  The hotel has a great little flower garden to brighten the landscape!


SIRIUS FM-6 | Birthdays in Baikonur!

Being on a launch campaign means you often spend national holidays away from home.  It also means sometimes your own personal holiday, your birthday, occurs during a campaign. ILS Program Director, Mike Thee, celebrated his on September 22nd. Despite being away from loved ones birthdays are still made special with an elaborately decorated cake. Knowing Mike’s love for all things Philadelphia Eagles his cake was adorned with a football!  I wonder what he wished for when blowing out the candles?!


SIRIUS FM-6 | SSL Standalone Operations

Regardless of how many times SSL has been to 92A50, at the beginning of every campaign, Khrunichev requires each manufacturer to have a bit of instruction on their equipment.   Safety is a top priority while on launch campaign.  After their “refresher discussion” SSL is now hard at work preparing and testing the satellite.  Even if there is a language barrier you can always count on the descriptive caricature illustrating the hazard of the lift! 


SIRIUS FM-6 | Joint Campaign BBQ!

Tonight we took advantage of the great weather to have a BBQ with the mission teams from the Sirius FM6 campaign as well as those here supporting the Astra 2E launch campaign.  It’s a great night when we can have customers Sirius and SES, manufactures SSL and Astrium coming together with Khrunichev and ILS for some BBQ.  It just proves that we’re all a team out here in Baikonur. 


SIRIUS FM-6 | SC Arrival!

With the landing of the Antonov at Yubileny the Sirius Fm-6 launch campaign is underway.  The SSL, Sirius, Khrunichev and ILS teams headed out to the airfield to meet the plane.  Bridget Neville, VP of Satellite Engineering & Operations for Sirius Satellite Radio, was finally able to make the journey to Baikonur for this launch of FM-6 and she was a trooper.  She returned from the offload tired and a bit more suntanned than when she began the day, but said she found the day very interesting. Seeing the famous Antonov cargo jet for the first time and witnessing the delicate heavy-lift procedures and the fantastic coordination by the teams of multinational experts is quite a sight!    


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