Last look at Sentinel-1A

Our campaign to prepare Sentinel-1A for launch is nearing an end as the satellite has now been encapsulated in the Soyuz rocket fairing and set to be transferred to the launch pad.

On Wednesday 28 March the satellite was moved from the S5B bay, where it had been fuelled, to the S3B facility to be mated with the Fregat upper stage of the launcher. Our baby was transferred in a specially dedicated Arianespace container and took a few hours to complete. Several of the Centre Spatial Guyanais roads had to be blocked but late that evening Sentinel-1A arrived safely at the S3B facility.

Sentinel-1A on KMTO. (ESA –B. v/d Elst)

Sentinel-1A on KMTO. (ESA –B. v/d Elst)

On Thursday morning the spacecraft was moved onto the Fregat, which was already sitting in  ‘KMTO’ – a scaffolding structure that allows access to the spacecraft at various levels while in a vertical position.

Over the course of the day, Sentinel-1A was mechanically and electrically mated with the Fregat. The Fregat thermal Multilayer insulation was finalised, the last inspection of Sentinel-1A was completed, and the spacecraft lifting brackets were removed as were all the ‘remove-before-flight’ red tags. By the end of the day Sentinel-1A and the Fregat had become a single stack.

Sentinel-1A mated with Fregat. (ESA –B. v/d Elst)

Sentinel-1A mated with Fregat. (ESA –B. v/d Elst)

Early Friday morning the process of encapsulating Sentinel-1A started. This was a rather emotional moment as first one half and then the second half of the fairing were integrated around the stack, sealing our satellite from view.

The final setup of the fairing separation mechanism was completed and the spacecraft was reconnected with the external support equipment, now through the connection that will be kept until few seconds before liftoff.

Encapsulation. (ESA–Ramón Torres)

Encapsulation. (ESA–Ramón Torres)

The Soyuz launcher was out on Monday morning, awaiting the integration with the encapsulated Sentinel-1A at the launch pad.

Soyuz roll out to launch pad. (ESA–S. Corvaja)

Soyuz roll out to launch pad. (ESA–S. Corvaja)

Today, Deniz Uestuener rejoined the ESA team in Kourou.

Post from the Launch Campaign Team, French Guiana, 1 April 2014.

Comments

1 Comment

  • Gabi says:

    Best wishes for the launch – next time, i.e. for S-1B , I hope to be there for encapsulation and launch!

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