MetOp launch campaign resumes
From Damiano (ESA) 25 July
Around three months since the MetOp launch campaign was put on-hold, we are restarting the launch campaign.
The first members of the team arrived here in Baikonur on 10 July. Since then, every week, different specialists have been landing to support the launch campaign operations.
So, most of them will spend a summer in Baikonur with temperatures that reach 50°C.
About two months of preparations are necessary to bring the spacecraft to a point where it can be filled with propellant. In fact, this is the same point at which the ‘nominal’ campaign was stopped.
Starting with reconditioning the spacecraft batteries, the plan is to remove the spacecraft from the container where it was stored to keep it thoroughly protected from the environment.
After that it is necessary to perform quite some activity to integrate the battery panel, the deployment mechanism of the solar array, and few other panels to allow easy access to the different locations of the satellite.
In addition, we will restore the configuration of for the platform and for the instruments, which can stay in flight configuration for no longer than a well-defined limited period before the launch.
After all the mechanical operations are completed, an aliveness test of the satellite will give us the final answers we want before we release it for the propellant filling.
By then, it will be about the end of August, but not the end of the hot season here in Baikonur.
MSG-3 next steps
Following yesterday’s successful lift off, the launch campaign in Kourou is now drawing to a close.
Launch of MSG-3 (credits: ESA/VNES/Arianespace/Optique Video du CSG)
The team in ESA’s European Space Operations Centre in Darmstadt, Germany, is carrying out important checks on the MSG-3 as part of the Launch and Early Orbit Phase (LEOP).
LEOP lasts 10 days. If all goes well, MSG-3 is then officially handed over to Eumetsat for in-orbit testing and commissioning, although ESA and industry continue to support this phase.
Commissioning ends when the complete satellite and ground systems are verified and validated, so that MSG-3 can be declared ready for operations. This should be in about six months from now.
MSG-3 is then renamed Meteosat-10 and will become the prime geostationary satellite providing full disk images of the European and African continents and parts of the Atlantic and Indian oceans, every 15 minutes.
Meteosat-9 will deliver more frequent images over Europe - every five minutes, providing the Rapid Scan Service.
MSG-3 lifts off
Ariane 5 lifted on at 23:36 from Europe's Spaceport in French Guiana carrying MSG-3 and EchoStar.
Ariane 5 lift off
MSG-3 on its way
Looking good for MSG-3
MSG-3 weather ‘green’ fuelling authorised
The weather in Kourou is 'green' so authorisation has been given to fuel the Ariane 5 rocket for today's launch. With launch is set for 23:36 CEST, countdown has begun.
Ariane 5 Flight VA207 on the launchpad (credits: ESA/CNES/Arianespace/Optique Video du CSG)
MSG-3 on the launch pad
MSG-3 has been rolled out to the launch pad 3 km away from the integration facilities at Europe's Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana.
MSG-3 on the launch pad at Europe's Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana. (credits: ESA)
Launch is set for today at 23.36 CEST. The launch window closes at 00.05. Watch the launch live at www.esa.int.
MSG-3: ready for roll out
The Launch Readiness Review took place yesterday and the transfer of the launcher to the launch pad has been authorised for today. The Ariane 5 carrying MSG-3 is now ready for roll out to Launch Pad at Europe's Spaceport in French Guiana.
MSG-3 in the Ariane 5 ready for roll out to the launch pad in French Guiana.(credits: ESA/C. Soulez-Lariviere)
Launch is confirmed for Thursday 5 July at 23:36 CEST. The launch window closes at 00:05 CEST.
The launch of MSG-3 will ensure the continuity of meteorological observations to improve weather forecasts from geostationary orbit 36 000 km above Earth.
MSG-3: launch dress rehearsal completed
The dress rehearsal, which was carried on on 29 June, simulates the procedures to be carried out on the day of launch from launch minus 10 hours to launch plus 30 minutes when MSG-3 separates from the luancher.
Control room at Europe's Spaceport in French Guiana (credits: ESA/C. Soulez-Lariviere)
During the rehearsal, teams worked where they will be during the real launch, including the LBC room where the satellite is monitored and the Jupiter-2 control room. ESA's European Space Operations Centre, ESOC, in Germany were also in the loop.
The next milestones are:
Launch readiness review on Tuesday
Roll out of launcher on Wednesday
Launch on Thursday. The launch window opens at 23:36 and closes at 00: 05 (CEST).