From Phi-Hung (ESA), Baikonur, 24 April

The Soyuz fairing that will encapsulate MetOp, which arrived at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in March, has passed a critical inspection.

Fairing check

After the inside and outside of the fairing halves had had a through clean, they were transferred to the cleanroom ready for a ‘cleanliness inspection’ by the team from ESA, with members from Astrium and Eumetsat in attendance.

Fairing check with UV light

This is a meticulous check where every inch of the fairing is carefully looked over using a white light and a UV lamp to make sure that it is free of ‘foreign object debris’ such as dust, particles, fibres, glue.

Using the two different lamps means that the team can see into every nook and cranny to ensure that the fairing is scrupulously clean.

Team infront of fairing

Both halves were found to be in an excellent state of cleanliness and were, accordingly, accepted by the team for the next step.

The fairing halves are being stored temporarily in the cleanroom, but a further inspection will also be carried out just before MetOp is encapsulated.