Intelsat 30 / DLA-1: the Journey Begins
By Jon Harborne, Senior Manager, Intelsat Spacecraft Program Office
First in a series from Intelsat team members overseeing the launch of Intelsat 30, which is hosting the DLA-1 payload for DirecTV Latin America.
I am pleased to report that Intelsat 30 arrived safe and sound at the launch base in French Guiana on Wednesday, 10 September. It was transported from SSL’s manufacturing facility in Palo Alto, California by an Antonov-124, a Ukrainian plane with a large enough cargo bay to carry the satellite inside its shipping container (pictured).
Currently, the satellite is scheduled to launch on 16 October. Between now and then, there are many tasks to be completed to ensure the satellite is ready, literally, for lift-off. The first twelve days are taken up with checking that the spacecraft still performs flawlessly after its flight from California. To do this, we’ll repeat the electrical functional tests that were conducted before the satellite was shipped, and also check that the propulsion system does not leak.
During the next seven days, Intelsat 30 will go to the fueling facility where its tanks will be filled with fuel and oxidizer. This is a hazardous operation with toxic chemicals and SSL’s technicians are required to wear SCAPE suits to protect themselves during this process.
Intelsat 30 is scheduled to be launched on an Ariane V launch vehicle, along with another satellite, Arsat 1. A dual launch such as this brings with it some specific considerations, which I’ll explain in my next post.