Satellite now on launch adapter

Following successful independent testing of both the Sentinel-5p satellite and the Rockot launcher, we have now reached another phase, that of ‘joint operations’.

This is the point where all teams work together to mount the satellite on Rockot’s upper stage and fit it in the fairing.

Carefully lifting the fuelled satellite onto the launch adapter. (ESA)

Yesterday, we achieved the first step in the process by mating the satellite to the launch adapter.

This was a very delicate operation as the now-fuelled satellite was lifted from the stand on the fuelling platform onto the adapter.

Perfect fit. (ESA)

The lengthy process of installing the clamp band and umbilicals then started. We didn’t finish until about 23:00 local time so it was a long day, but a successful one.

In parallel, Eric inspected the rocket fairing to ensure it met the stringent cleanliness requirements of the instrument prior to encapsulation next week.

Making sure the inside of the rocket fairing is spotless. (ESA)

At ESA’s European Space Operations Centre, ESOC, simulations continued in preparation for the launch.

Launch simulations at ESOC. (ESA)

The other afternoon, we did something completely different as we received permission to spend some time at the local children’s home that looks after children between 3 and 15 years old. Colleagues that have been in Plesetsk in the past, preparing other Earth observation satellites for launch, have visited the home before.

Visiting the local children’s home. (ESA)

The children’s stories are very moving, none of us can imagine……

They usually stay a maximum of six months before transferring to an orphanage if they cannot return home. We met the seven children who are currently staying there. Sadly only one may return to her parents. We found it very emotional to see how much the children loved our contact.

Bill and one of the children at the home. (ESA)

From the ESA Sentinel-5P launch campaign team in Plesetsk

Read more about Sentinel-5P

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