[img]/assets/Images/Media/Ciel-2-Blog/Fully-Assembled.JPG[/img] The signing festivities are complete and it is once again time to get down to business. With the rail transporter in place in Hall 101, the Ascent Unit (AU) is lifted from the tilter and positioned over the train. As team members gather to watch, the slow and rather brief train ride gets underway. The train pulls out of Hall 101 and moves down the rails, then a switch is moved so the train can back up and move towards the entrance to Hall 111. This is the hall which houses the complete Proton M/Breeze M rocket that will take the Ciel II satellite into orbit. Hall 111 is huge. Hall 101 was earlier described as being able to hold a soccer match. Hall 111 can hold the grandstands as well. As the AU enters the room, we can only marvel at what is seen: the complete launch vehicle (LV), laying horizontal in its support stand. Pictures do not do justice to the impressive sight of the LV in this room. The AU is lifted from the transporter and is placed on a holding dolly. Very little time was wasted before the AU was mated to the launch vehicle (LV). With the AU on its rail dolly, Khrunichev specialists hand cranked the unit and aligned it with the LV. It is finally one complete unit, known as the integrated Launch Vehicle (ILV).  While Khrunichev puts the ILV through two days of electrical checks, thermal shielding installations and readiness checks in preparation for the move to the Breeze M fueling station, the ThalesAlenia Space (TAS) team performs their own pre-transport checks side-by-side with Khrunichev in Hall 111. As you can most likely tell by the pictures, there’s plenty of room in that huge hall for everyone to work in unison.  Needless to say, the excitement is building as everyone sees the finished product and wraps up preparations for its final leg of a long journey: To the Breeze M fueling station and then off to Launch Complex 39. To celebrate the successful transportation of the AU to Hall 111, the Pinkertons hosted burrito night at the Polyot. We hire these guys and gals to do security? They could open the best Tex-Mex restaurant this side of the Rio Grande – or at least this side of the Aral Sea!

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