31 January 2013

Final Preparations Underway

Intelsat 27 was rolled out today to begin final preparations for launch, which is scheduled for Feb. 1 at 1:56 a.m. EST. So why did we travel 3,000 miles to the equator to launch Intelsat 27? First off, Sea Launch needs to drop the first and second stage and fairing over an unpopulated area, which the open waters of the Pacific are ideal for.

Satellites are generally launched with the direction of the earth’s rotation, allowing them to leverage the Earth’s natural rotational velocity. At the equator, this is where the earth’s diameter is the largest, and thus the benefit is greatest. Also, our geosynchronous satellites fly over the equator, so we don’t need to use precious fuel to take out any inclination. This leads to better performance to orbit, and that leads to better satellite life for Intelsat 27
Contributor: Brian Sing, Intelsat’s senior program manager for space systems acquisition

30 January 2013

Final Preparations Begin

With the launch platform submerged and in position, the launch of Intelsat 27 is getting close. The rocket segment personnel are preparing the ground support equipment in preparation for today’s roll out. During the roll out from the hanger, the launch vehicle will be moved into a vertical position. In parallel, they are conducting the laborious process of prepping the rocket fuels in preparation for fueling operations on launch day.

Once all pre-launch activities are complete, the rocket is ready to roll on L-1 (day before launch). Boeing Satellite Systems and Intelsat will be on the launch pad in the early morning of L-1 to check on the satellite.

For an animation of what happens at lift-off through separation, click on this video for a two-minute overview of the mission (video courtesy of Sea Launch).

Contributor: Brian Sing, Intelsat’s senior program manager for space systems acquisition




29 January 2013

We Have Arrived

The Assembly Command Ship (ACS) and the launch platform (LP) have reached the launch site at the equator. We have begun prep for the L-72 hour countdown, and have been testing the fire suppression system and ground system equipment that will support the launch.

To achieve this, we must transport up to 30 engineers and technicians from the ACS to the LP. How does Sea Launch transport 30 personnel from one sea vessel to the other? The ACS comes within 50 feet and deploys a link bridge that will span across open seas to allow personnel to cross. This requires precision maneuvering by both vessels in heavy sea swells.

Check out how Sea Launch brings the link bridge over to the LP in this video.

Below, Sea Launch tests the fire suppression systems approximately 72 hours before launch.

Contributor: Brian Sing, Intelsat’s senior program manager for space systems acquisition


28 January 2013

Launch Date Change

The launch of the Intelsat 27 satellite has been postponed by one day to Thursday, January 31st  at 22:56 PST (01:56 EST on February 1st) at the opening of the 58-minute launch window.  The delay is due to a conflict with NASA resources associated with the use of the Telemetry and Data Relay Satellite Systems (TDRSS) network used by Sea Launch for in flight telemetry tracking. 

26 January 2013

We Meet Again

After six days at sea, the Sea Launch ACS has finally caught up to the launch platform (LP).  The LP, which had a five day head start, travels at half the speed of the ACS.  We will now travel the last 600 miles in tandem to the launch site.  The map below shows our position at sea.  The Intelsat and Boeing Satellite Team were taken by helicopter today to the LP.  Some were offloaded to begin initial health checks on the satellite and others conducted an aerial site survey of the LP.   See video of the helicopter operations by clicking on the link.












Prior to the helicopter operations, all personnel were required to take a training and safety class by Sea Launch. (See picture below)


Contributor: Brian Sing, Intelsat’s senior program manager for space systems acquisition

24 January 2013

Out At Sea

We are now on our fifth full day at sea and fully engaged in safety and coordination meetings. Since our departure on Saturday, we have not seen land or another ship since Sunday. The vastness of the sea is really magnified when you look 360 degrees and there is nothing but water.

So what is everyone to do in their spare time while not at work? One of the great features of the ship is availability of Internet access. On Sunday afternoon, we watched both NFL playoff games via a site that streams the games live. The ship’s catering officer, Garry, catered an NFL party for our team. We had about 25 Sea Launch, Boeing, FAA, DTSA, and Intelsat team members root on the Ravens and 49’ers to victory. There were plenty of refreshments including hot dogs, chips, salsa and desserts. It really felt like we were at a neighbor’s house watching the game.

Tuesday night, the captain formally welcomed us on board the ship with a nice dinner. It’s a tradition for Intelsat and Boeing, along with the heads of the Rocket Segment from Russia and the Ukraine, to enjoy a great dinner days before launch.

 

Contributor: Brian Sing, Intelsat’s senior program manager for space systems acquisition

20 January 2013

Bon Voyage

The Intelsat 27 launch campaign is now fully on its way to the launch site. At precisely 10:00 AM on January 19, the Assembly Command Ship pulled away from the dock. With the Intelsat banner proudly displayed on the railing, the team waves farewell to Long Beach for a trip to the equator.











Contributor: Brian Sing, Intelsat’s senior program manager for space systems acquisition

16 January 2013

Head Start

This morning, the launch platform (LP) Odyssey left Long Beach on its way to the equator (between Hawaii and Tahiti). It was a gorgeous sight and the weather was perfect. Since the LP only travels at 10 knots, we let it get a head start. On Saturday, Jan. 19, the Assembly and Command Ship (ACS), which travels at about 20 knots, will depart. The ACS should be able to catch up to the LP by the following Wednesday if all goes well. We will then travel in tandem to the launch site. Once we arrive, we start the L-72 countdown.

To get a feel for how large the LP is, take a look at the crew member (in blue overalls) standing on the pontoon.

Contributor: Brian Sing, Intelsat’s senior program manager for space systems acquisition

15 January 2013

Rocket Signing

The Intelsat 27 launch team gathered for the rocket signing ceremony, which traditionally occurs after the fairing and satellite are mated to the rocket. With Intelsat 27 now encapsulated, the team and several customers came together to sign the base of the rocket, near the main engines. Several key customers, including Panasonic and Gogo, were in attendance.

14 January 2013

Rocket Transfer

Over the weekend, Intelsat 27 was transferred from the command ship to the launch platform.  The transfer took the rocket roughly 125 feet above the water line to the top of the hanger on the platform.  The next day, the rocket was erected onto the launch pad.  Once this occurred, the team ran a complete validation of their launch software, with an independent review in Moscow.  In parallel, Boeing Satellite Systems powered up the satellite and ran the launch day procedure.  If everything is functional,  the rocket will be stowed on Monday, Jan. 14, and the launch platform will depart early Tuesday.



Contributor: Brian Sing, Intelsat’s senior program manager for space systems acquisition

10 January 2013

Roll Out

Yesterday was an important day at the Sea Launch Home Port.  The Intelsat 27 satellite is now secure in the payload processing facility. The satellite was recently rolled out of the building to the Assembly Command Ship (ACS), located about a quarter-mile away.  With the use of highly specialized equipment, the satellite was moved onto the rails of the ACS and to the front of the Sea Launch Zenit 3SL rocket.  Tomorrow, the rocket segment personnel will validate the interfaces and begin the process of attaching the satellite to the rocket.






















Contributor: Brian Sing, Intelsat’s senior program manager for space systems acquisition



09 January 2013

Satellite Safety

So how safe is it to stand next to a 13,800-pound satellite loaded with explosive satellite fuels?  The Intelsat 27 satellite (pictured) is in the horizontal position being readied for insertion into the fairing.  All that is holding the satellite to the launch vehicle adapter is a 47-inch diameter separation clamp band, which pinches two flanges together with very high force.  Since the clamp is flight-proven and designed to hold the satellite during liftoff and ascent, the satellite is secure.  Currently, the launch team is conducting final inspections prior to putting Intelsat 27 into the fairing. 
















Contributor: Brian Sing, Intelsat’s senior program manager for space systems acquisition

04 January 2013

Launch Milestone


On Jan. 2, we reached a major milestone for the Intelsat 27 launch campaign - we began combined operations.  The satellite has now been mated to the launch vehicle adapter. Boeing successfully lifted the fully fueled satellite, and the Sea Launch technicians tightened the clamp band which holds the satellite onto the adapter. Once on orbit this clamp band will release via a pyrotechnic device, allowing the springs to push the satellite away from the upper stage.

Watch a video of the satellite being moved on air bearings.

Contributor: Brian Sing, Intelsat’s senior program manager for space systems acquisition

ShareThis