Intelsat 30/DLA-1 Teams Come Together

By Jon Harborne, Senior Manager, Intelsat Spacecraft Program Office

Third in a series from Intelsat team members overseeing the launch of Intelsat 30, which is hosting the DLA-1 payload for DirecTV Latin America.

Intelsat 30/DLA-1 has successfully completed propulsion system checks, and preparation activities are underway for filling the propellant tanks.

Our co-passenger Arsat-1 has completed its electrical tests, and is on track for its fueling operations.

Currently, the launch vehicle is undergoing system validation checks in the BIL (French acronym for Bâtiment d’Intégration Lanceur), and is on track for transfer to the BAF (French acronym for Final Assembly Building) on 29 September.

With all systems running according to plan, the team here on the ground in French Guiana recently got together for some well-deserved down time organized by Arianespace, the launch provider. Taking part were team members from:

• Intelsat
• SSL (Intelsat 30/DLA-1 manufacturer)
• Arianespace
• Arsat (owner of the launch co-passenger)
• Centre National d’Études Spatiales (the French National Space Agency, CNES) / Centre Spatial Guyanais (French Guiana Space Center, CSG)
• Freelance Services (a company based here in French Guiana, whose mission is to provide campaign secretaries, out-of-office support and free time tour guides to personnel visiting French Guiana for satellite launch campaigns)
• INVAP (the manufacturer of the Argentine satellite for Arsat)

Sunday began with a two-hour hike along a trail in the rainforest in the morning.  Later, we enjoyed a paella lunch at a forest shelter by the river, followed by various activities such as Petanque, volleyball, field skittles and river swimming.

This was a nice break for the team here as some have been working 24/7 here at launch base to get the satellite through its electrical, ADCS and propulsion testing to ensure the satellite is ready for fueling. For my part, I’ve been coordinating with Arianespace, CSG, SSL and Intelsat to verify the satellite is ready for fueling, address any satellite issues that may arise and to communicate status reports back to Intelsat and DIRECTV, our customer.

IS-30/DLA-1 has been three years in design and construction at SSL, and a lot of work went into defining the conceptual design before that.  Now we are at the point at which the satellite is ready to be fueled and launched, the culmination of many years’ work by a lot of people.  It is exciting to be at this point in the process!

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