Preparations Continue for the Intelsat 30/DLA-1 Launch
By Jon Harborne, Senior Manager, Intelsat Spacecraft Program Office
Second in a series from Intelsat team members overseeing the launch of Intelsat 30, which is hosting the DLA-1 payload for DirecTV Latin America.
Things here in French Guiana are proceeding as planned. Intelsat 30/DLA-1 (IS-30/DLA-1) has successfully completed electrical testing, the propulsion system checks are in process 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, and the launch vehicle is undergoing system validation checks in the BIL (French acronym for Batiment d’Intégration Lanceur).
After the tanks of IS-30/DLA-1 have been loaded with fuel and oxidizer, the focus of the campaign will shift to integration of the satellite and its co-passenger, Arsat-1, onto the Ariane V launch vehicle. IS-30/DLA-1 will ride in the upper position on the launch vehicle, separated from Arsat-1 by a structure known by the French acronym, SYLDA (Système de Lancement Double Ariane).
The integration will take place in a tall building known as the BAF (French acronym for Final Assembly Building). First, IS-30/DLA-1 will be attached on top of the SYLDA, then the rocket fairing will be placed over the satellite and SYLDA. It may sound simple, but this series of steps takes five days to complete and must be performed very carefully with cross-checks at every stage.
After the integration of IS-30/DLA-1 is complete, the satellite and its co-passenger will be attached to the launch vehicle. Arsat-1 will be attached first, and then the composite of IS-30/DLA-1, the SYLDA and fairing will be integrated on top. This will bring us up to a week before the launch date.
During the final days prior to the launch, we will be busy with a launch day “dress rehearsal,” transfer of the rocket from the BAF to the launch pad, final preparations, fuelling of the rocket and then, the launch itself!
Pictured, Jon in front of the satellite as it was being unloaded at Cayenne Airport.