It is quite weird when you have a minute to sit down and think about where exactly you are and what the situation is.
In the middle of nowhere on the Russian and Kazakh border is a little town called Yasny. From here ISC Kosmotras launch Dnepr vehicles and their payloads into orbit, six of them so far.
It is a few kilometers outside this little town, next to a military base, that I am currently busy with the final checks on ZACUBE-1 and doing top-up charging of the on-board batteries. Today is my second and final day of preparing the spacecraft for launch.
All activities so far have gone according to plan, or “nominally” I guess would be the technical term. We share the clear room in the Assembly, Integration and Test Building (AITB) with the Ukrainian team from Yuzhnoe Design Bureau, who design and manufacture the Dnepr vehicle. They are completing work on the Space Head Module (SHM), which is the upper part of the launch vehicle.
I share my time here with personnel from ISIS and ISL, who brokered our launch. It helps to have some familiar faces to share a few laughs (and beers of course). The guys from ISIS are working on their CubeSat called Triton-1 and also doing final preparations on FUNcube-1 with ISL staff providing support where they can. Skybox Imaging are also here preparing their satellite for launch.
This is definitely been an experience I will never forget and the word fortunate does not really describe it fully either. Russia is “prima”.
Good luck to everyone taking part in this launch!