The Sentinel-3A launch campaign has restarted in earnest with a schedule that doesn’t allow for any slack.
On Friday, we reconnected the satellite to the electrical ground support equipment and started recharging the battery to its maximum capacity. This took until Saturday, after which we removed the umbilical connections and closed the multilayer insulation. The cabling and lines needed for the fuelling were installed and connected.
Friday also involved packing up some of the ground support equipment we no longer need so that it is ready to ship back home after the 16 February launch day. The return Antonov flight from Archangel is now booked for 20 February, which means the train with the containers has to leave the Plesetsk Cosmodrome on the 19th.
By the time we left the cleanroom on Saturday, the satellite was ready to start the ‘pre-fuelling’ activities on Monday.
On the launcher side, the electrical dry run at the launch pad also started on Friday and proceeded on track through Saturday.
We were also provided with the test report of the measurement performed on the ground cable connections between the vault and the launch tower. Everything was ok.
On Sunday we received the formal letter sent by Roskosmos to Khrunichev with the launch manifest for the next three months, including the launch of Sentinel-3A on 16 February, which was great news.
The final paperwork and everything should all be in place on Monday for us to actually start fuelling Sentinel-3A on Tuesday 2 February – an important milestone!
Weather in Plesetsk: 0 °C, cloudy with light snow
For information about our Sentinel-3 mission visit www.esa.int/sentinel-3
From the ESA Sentinel-3A team at the Plesetsk cosmodrome in Russia.