Monthly Archives: June 2012

New launch date confirmed for Metop-B

The revised launch date for the Metop-B satellite from the Baikonur Cosmodrome has been set for 19 September 2012. The launch campaign will resume in early July.  

MSG-3 encapsulated in the Ariane 5 fairing

Encapsulation of the MSG satellite went ahead as planned on 27 June. This means that the configuration of the launcher is now complete with MSG and its co-passenger, EchoStar, inside the rocket’s faring. EchoStar is in upper position in the fairing and MSG below. With this new milestone complete, the final steps before launch on 5 July will include functional tests, launch rehearsal, readiness review and rollout to the launch pad.

MSG-3 satellite mated to Ariane launcher

MSG-3 has been moved to the Final Assembly Building or ‘BAF’ as it is known at the launch site and mated to the top of the Ariane 5 rocket. This is one of the final steps in the campaign to make MSG-3 ready for launch on 5 July. The satellite was first placed in the payload container so that it could be safely towed by truck to the BAF. It’s about 10 km between facilities so the transfer took about two hours. The pictures below offer some insight into what’s being going on in Kourou over the last couple of days. Since the mating procedure is Arianespace’s responsibility, only a few of...

MSG-3 satellite meets the launch adapter

Another milestone has been reached in the campaign to prepare MSG-3 for launch: the satellite has been joined to the launch adapter. The MSG-3 satellite was taken off the fuel stand and mated to the launch adapter on Friday 22 June. Since the satellite is now fully fuelled, this a rather hazardous operation.  The first step was to unclamped the satellite from the stand that supported it during fuelling. Attached to a crane, the satellite was then lifted slightly and slowly moved across the room to line up with the launch adapter. The satellite was then lowered very carefully onto the adapter and then securely clamped.

MSG-3 fuelled

 The MSG-3 satellite has now been fully fuelled, marking a major milestone in the launch campaign. Yesterday, the team finished loading 365 kg of liquid fuel (Monomethyl Hydrazine, MMH). This follows the earlier fuelling with liquid oxidizer (Mixed Oxides of Nitrogen, MON). In total, the fuel has increased the mass of MSG-3 by about a ton. MSG-3 will now be installed on the launcher adapter. On Monday, it will be moved to the Final Assembly Building, BAF, for integration on the launcher later next week. The launcher and EchoStar 17 (co-passenger) activities are also proceeding as planned.  

MSG-3: Gearing up for launch

With third Meteosat Second Generation (MSG-3) set to liftoff on 5 July from Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, the team on site has be busy over the last weeks preparing the satellite for launch. Most recently, the launch adapter has been thoroughly inspected. The adapter is an essential component as it connects the launcher with the satellite. A clamp band secures satellite to the adapter. A few minutes after launch, the clamp band opens and six springs around the upper ring push the satellite away from the adapter. This is a critical stage of the launch sequence, signalling ‘separation’.  Engineers from Thales Alenia Space have carefully checked the position of the...