A Typical Launch Campaign
A typical launch campaign starts with the arrival of the customer's spacecraft and equipment in Plesetsk some 30 to 50 days before launch. This campaign length is mainly dictated by the customer requirements for the duration of the spacecraft stand-alone operations at the launch site.
The spacecraft arrival in the Eurockot facilities and unpacking into the customer's dedicated clean area heralds the start of the customer's stand-alone operations. In parallel, the launch vehicle is shipped to the launch site, including the Breeze upper stage.
After inspection and acceptance of the launch vehicle's booster unit (first and second stages) and transport launch container extension, the booster unit is horizontally transported in its launch container to the pad, erected into a vertical position and installed on the launch table three weeks before launch. Before the upper composite is prepared for the spacecraft integration and assembly an entire preparation/check-out cycle of the Breeze, and interface with fairing and booster is performed.
Upon conclusion of spacecraft processing, spacecraft fuelling is performed on a fuelling platform in the same clean room. This area is certified for cold gas and monopropellant hydrazine. Upon completion of these operations, the spacecraft is mounted to the payload adapter which incorporates the separation system.
At approximately two weeks before launch, the spacecraft which is mounted on its payload adapter is transferred to the adjacent upper composite integration facility. It is then mated vertically onto the fuelled Breeze stage and then the process is completed with the vertical encapsulation of the spacecraft within the two fairing half shells. Upon completion of these activities, the complete upper composite which is maintained in its vertical position throughout all operations, is rolled out into the main hall and prepared for transportation to the pad by rail car. The upper composite is connected to an environmental control system and covered with thermal insulation for its 7 km roll out to the pad.
At the pad the upper composite is removed from the rail car by a crane and stacked vertically on the Rockot booster unit, which comprises of the first and second stages. The Rockot booster units by this time will have already completed a check-out on the pad, before these operations begin. Once, the complete launcher is assembled, the mobile service tower doors are closed and an on pad check-out of all systems including electrical check-out is undertaken. During this period the spacecraft is connected to an environmental control system controlling temperature and humidity constantly. The spacecraft is connected through a ground umbilical to allow the customer to perform electrical tests, monitoring and battery top-off charging without problem.
Two days before launch, a launch review, the so-called State Commission is convened, during which all parties report on the status of their systems, including the customer who reports on the spacecraft. After successful conclusion of this commission, the go-ahead for booster fuelling is given, which is undertaken the day before launch.