From Damiano (ESA), Baikonur, 14 September

Yesterday, MetOp reached another milestone on its way to life in space. The final integration with the launcher had been successful and everything was ready for the roll out to the launch pad.

MetOp-B on the launch pad. (ESA)

The day started  the rocket and the team getting a religious blessing, a tradition we didn’t want to miss.

At the end of the day, we got another ‘blessing’ : the State Commission gave authorisation to roll out. Before they gave the green light all the teams had to declare the status of the many elements involved in the roll out.

Team blessing before roll out. (ESA)

There was an old picture of a young Gagarin in his white uniform, looking at all of us, witnessing of  these rituals. It puts our experience in Baikonur into perspective!

Tower arms closing to secure the Soyuz rocket on the launch pad. (ESA)