The process of fuelling the Sentinel-2B satellite is underway. This is an extremely hazardous and delicate task so it’s only the fuelling experts, wearing special suits, allowed anywhere near the satellite at this time.

Ready to fuel. (CNES)

This milestone task follows a few issues that haven’t previously been mentioned. The team found that two types of the solar array connectors didn’t come up to scratch so needed to be carefully inspected and cleaned. This involved deploying the solar array.

Special suits are required to fuel a satellite. (CNES)

Francois Spoto, ESA’s Sentinel-2 Project Manager said, “We also exchanged a Coarse Earth and Sun Sensor Head – six of them are used for ‘Initial Attitude Acquisition’ and during ‘Safe Mode’. This was because the glass cover was found to be partially broken. These unexpected activities meant bringing in some equipment and a number of experts from Europe, from Airbus Defence and Space in the Netherlands and Germany.”

Making sure the solar wing is in tip-top condition. (CNES)

This is exactly what a launch campaign is for – to make sure the satellite is in absolutely perfect condition before it is launched into space!

Despite these unexpected jobs, everything is still on schedule, and liftoff remains ‘green’ for liftoff on 7 March at 01:49 GMT (02:49 CET; 22:49 local time on 6 March).

On Friday 10 February, the different teams involved will meet for the Operations Readiness Review at ESOC, ESA’s Space Operations Centre in Darmstadt, Germany.

From the ESA launch campaign team in Kourou.

Read more about the Sentinel-2 mission