Signing fairing nose tip. (ESA)

Signed, sealed and ready for delivery into orbit

Yesterday, the military forces were busy finalising the fairing. They sealed the various openings used to lock the fairing halves, painted the fairing in bright white and applied the ESA and Eurockot logos. The Russians also did...

Sentinel-3A encapsulation. (ESA)

Bye bye Sentinel-3A

Today, around 14:00 local time, the two halves of the fairing were finally closed and Sentinel-3A disappeared from sight. It was a very emotional moment after so many years of hard work. This morning the fairing, which...

Sentinel-3A ready to meet fairing. (ESA-S. Corvaja)

Ready to meet rocket fairing

Sentinel-3A is ready to be sealed from view inside the Rockot fairing so today we will be saying good-bye to our baby. Most of yesterday was spent removing ‘non-flight protections’, i.e. items that do not go into...

Craig Susanne interview

Sentinel-3 applications explained

In this special edition, ESA's Sentinel-3 Mission Manager Susanne Mecklenburg and Mission Scientist Craig Donlon join the show to tell us more about the Sentinel-3A satellite and its mission, at Thales Alenia Space in Cannes, France.

Mating of S-3A on Breeze

Sentinel-3A meets flight and launch adapters

Over the weekend, Sentinel-3A was mated with the flight and launch adapters in the next steps to prepare it for launch next week. While Saturday’s mating with the flight adapter was successful, there was a minor hiccup:...

Sentinel-3 PDGS team. (ESA)

Payload data ground segment go for launch!

The Sentinel-3 Payload Data Ground Segment (PDGS) team had the traditional pre-launch meeting at ESA's centre for Earth observation (ESRIN) on 4 February, after which the team gathered for a photo. During the briefing, each team member...

Thumbs on the fuelling front. (ESA)

Under pressure

With the launch of Sentinel-3A confirmed for 16 February, preparations for liftoff are charging full speed ahead. The tricky task of fuelling the satellite has now been ticked off the ‘to do list’ and the propulsion team...

Fuelling preps done. (ESA)

Tricky business of fuelling begins

With the delivery of the copy of the certification that states that the launch vehicle dry run has been completed and that it is ready for the launch of Sentinel-3A on 16 February, we have started fuelling...

Tracking the battery charge. (ESA)

Charging ahead

The Sentinel-3A launch campaign has restarted in earnest with a schedule that doesn’t allow for any slack. On Friday, we reconnected the satellite to the electrical ground support equipment and started recharging the battery to its maximum...

Visiting the orphanage in Plesetsk. (ESA)

Inspections, tests and special visits

Yesterday, the industrial team did some more satellite ‘active’ babysitting. As the last time, they visually inspected Sentinel-3A, re-powered the hydrazine alarms and checked the environmental conditions in the cleanroom and the EGSE room. In the afternoon...

Sentinel-3A and Breeze upper stage. (ESA/ATG medialab)

Sentinel-3A gets new launch date

Yesterday, the team in Plesetsk received a communication from Eurockot and Khrunichev informing them that 16 February has been designated as the new launch date. The official letter is expected in the next day or so. This...

Sentinel-3A takes a nap. (ESA)

Sentinel-3A takes power nap

While we wait for news about a new launch date, we have started to prepare our satellite for a ‘power nap’. This involves removing the battery arming plugs and discharging the battery by 50%, which will help...