(press release taken from Khrunichev website)

Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, 27 January, 2014 – The scheduled processing operations are under way at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in preparation for launching a Proton M with the TurkSat 4A, a Turkish telecommunications spacecraft.

The first two weeks, during which Khrunichev in collaboration with other space-industry companies processed the spacecraft, the Proton M launcher and the upper stage for performing flight as an integrated entity, proceeded in full accordance with the approved schedule.

This two-week phase of the campaign signified the completion of major pre-scheduled operations at the Integration-and-Test Facility (IFT) or the Launch Complex such as the integration of the three booster stages, loading the upper stage’s high-pressure tanks, testing the spacecraft’s subsystems and processing the spacecraft for loading with propellants.

On Saturday, 25 MELCO, the Japanese designer and builder of TurkSat 4A, commenced spacecraft engine fueling operations that are presumably will last until the end of this month. The operations sequence started with loading the oxidizer.  At the moment, the processing team are preparing the spacecraft for fuel loading.  The next step will be to test the performance of the loaded satellite with a view to verifying its readiness for mating to the Breeze M upper stage.

The TurkSat 4A launch is scheduled for February.

The satellite is built by Mitsubishi Electric – МЕLCO of Japan for the Turksat AS satellite operator of Turkey. The TurkSat 4A launch on a Proton is contracted by International Launch Services Inc., a Russian/U.S. joint venture head-quartered in Reston, VA.  ILS has exclusive rights for marketing the Russian-made heavy-lift Proton M launch vehicle worldwide. The state-run Khrunichev Research and Production Space Center of Russia, the Proton/Breeze M designer and manufacturer, has held majority interest in ILS since 2008

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