Though it still feels as if Launch was just a few hours ago, the satellites are already more than 17 hours in orbit. Most of them have been heard from already during first passes, and a few more were confirmed to be heard over the past couple of passes. Just one more satellite to make contact.
Meanwhile, we (Michiel & Abe), and the customer teams, have already returned to Moscow, and we’re now waiting for connecting flights home.
It’s been a short trip, with even a shorter night, but very successful! Thanks to all involved and we look forward to the next ISILaunch campaign already.
Live from (the conference room at) Yasny launch base:
So, on this positive note, signing off here from the launch base!
It was confirmed that all doors have opened meaning that all our systems properly functioned! That is, QuadPacks, harnessing and (all subsystems of the) iMDC!
First satellites seems to be heard, more details to follow!
All systems deployed from SHM!
All systems nominal
All systems nominal
Internet will be shut off shortly (10 min prior to launch) and will be back shortly (2 min) after launch. See you on the other side .
Little over 15 minutes from T (Internet black-out imminent in about 5 minutes)
Little over 20 minutes from T.
From now on, I’ll be trying to update this post as often as I can.
T – 45 mins
T- less than 3 hours.
We’ve set up our station at the mission control center here in Yasny.
We’re proud to once more represent so many different nationalities and customers on this launch; they already need two flag-stands to fit all those nationalities
For our final preparations, we just performed the communications checks with the ISILaunch mission coordination team in Delft, and, after the usual hickups, we are good to go from Yasny.
While some of the co-passengers are just about to perform the final charging on their (larger) satellite, we will rather charge our laptops for the start of the event in just over 2.5 hours.
Meanwhile, the wind has agreed to not interfere anymore, as the flags outside confirm:
Following an official meeting between the representatives of ISC Kosmotras, Yasny Launch Base and the formal Russian State Launch Commitee, we were informed in a general launch readiness review that the formal and final go ahead for launch has been given by the Commitee, meaning that nothing should be in the way for launch anymore.
Nothing…? Well, we were surprised a bit by mother nature, suddenly giving us a nice local rainstorm, as we tried to show in the picture below (taken from the roof of one of the buildings, where we probably shouldn’t have been at that time, but ok )
Yet also this weather has been discussed during the meeting, and, with the most severe weather already passed, considering the forecast, there is no reason to assume that there will be any weather conditions tonight that would endanger the launch.
So no weather worries here (anymore)
ISL returned to Yasny, for the actual launch later tonight (or technically very early ‘tomorrow morning’ for us here locally; 19:11:11 UTC). This time, representatives of a number of the customers joint the ISL team, from Brazil, Denmark, Israel and Ukraine.
We had a tour of the facilities this morning, and were allowed to go into the clean room and take a picture, even without the usual garments this time (as the satellites are all gone and safely stowed into a silo some 25 kms from here already anyway):
Others in the picture are representatives of other teams, ISC Kosmotras and the Yasny Launch Base.
With about 8 hours to go before launch, we will update the blog more regularly.
As of today, the Dnepr’s SHM has been fully assembled. The process of closing the SHM started yesterday with the mounting of the fairing onto platform A. This platform houses Deimos-2, Tabletsat-Aurora and the ISL manifest, consisting of BugSat-1 and 21 CubeSats in five QuadPacks.
With the platform A & fairing combination completed, the next step was to mount this combination on platform B, which is home to a total of 13 other satellites, including KazEOSat, Saudisat-4, Hodoyoshi-3 & -4, and various other small satellites. When completed, the large green SHM is an impressive sight and it is hard to believe the number of satellites inside, and all the complexity associated with integrating them onto a single launch vehicle.
Today, the final touch was the placement of the launch stickering, which due to the sheer number of satellites covers the whole SHM.
As of tomorrow, the SHM will be traveling to the launch site, where it will be mounted with the rest of the launch vehicle.
Thanks to our customers from Argentina, who attached their camera to one of the integration jigs, we have some nice footage of the process of integration of the joint QuadPack and BugSat-1 adapter plate.
Please watch the video here:
Yesterday, all QuadPack deployers were placed on platform A, and all harnessing was routed by specialists from Yuzhnoye state design office. The multitude of QuadPack command and telemetry wires were hooked up to the iMDC; the central timing and sequencing device.
At the same time, the final RBF elements of the BugSat satellite were removed. As the Argentinian team from Satellogic had to leave this morning, yesterday was the last moment for them to lay their hands on the satellite for the last time.
Finally, at the end of a long day, the RBF elements of the QuadPacks were removed as well, completing the installation of 21 CubeSats and 1 nano satellite on the Dnepr launch vehicle. This concludes the activities for ISL, but the final piece of integration is being worked on today: the integration of the large co-passenger of platform A; Deimos-2.
All that remains after that is the closing of the fairing, and transport to the launch site.
Today and yesterday were packed with activities for the ISL manifest hardware. Yesterday, the complex harnessing from all the QuadPacks to the central deployment timing device were fixed to the QuadPacks and the adapter plates that hold the QuadPacks to the launch vehicle in pairs. Continuing this activity today resulted in ‘ready-made’ packages consisting of an adapter plate with QuadPack 1 and Bugsat-1 on its own dispenser, and an adapter plate with QuadPack 2 and QuadPack 3.
Fixing the Bugsat-1 satellite to its dispenser is more complex than mounting a QuadPack, as the Bugsat-1 uses a custom built mounting pattern with a central locking pin. Today, in one effort, this pin was installed, and subsequently the satellite was placed on the dispenser. This dispenser is especially designed by Yuzhnoye design office in conjunction with ISL to match the customers requirements. This was the first time the flight model satellite was ever mated with this device, and it fit perfectly.
After some quick electrical tests, the bugSat-1 and QuadPack 1 systems were hoisted onto the launch vehicle together.
Additionally, the central deployment timing device developed by ISIS – which will be responsible for sending the command signals to all the QuadPacks – was also installed. Tomorrow, this system, which is known in short as the iMDC, will be connected to all the QuadPacks as well as the command cable coming from the launch vehicle.
Only tomorrow remains, where the remaining 4 QuadPacks will also be hoisted onto the upper platform of the launch vehicle, and all RBF and ABF operations on the Bugsat and QuadPacks will be completed.