Sentinel-3B: forging ahead

The weather seems to be turning milder here in Plesetsk. There are even some patches of green grass emerging here and there as the snow melts. However, it’s really slippery outside.

Inside, however, our feet are firmly on the ground and we are forging ahead getting the Sentinel-3B satellite ready for its ride into space on 25 April.

Working on Sentinel-3B. (ESA)

All the ‘functional tests’ are now done, apart from the last propulsion subsystem tests that will be done on Saturday. So everything is progressing really well. Between now and the weekend we are focussing on things like connecting the flight plugs for the satellite battery and the solar-array release mechanism.

The hydrazine fuel drums have also been moved into the cleanroom. This is classified as a hazardous operation that needs careful planning and only essential staff can be in the cleanroom at this time.

Hydrazine drums. (ESA)

This all happened early yesterday morning and once we got the all-clear, the rest of the team could enter the cleanroom and resume their tasks.

With everything on track, we have a few reviews to go through to formally tick off the tests done so far.

There she stands. (ESA)

On the Rockot launcher side, the ‘launch vehicle adapter’, which is what connects the satellite to the rocket, has had its ‘electrical check-out’.  And, the rocket upper composite is in the facilities.

Some team members in front of the Rockot upper composite. (ESA)

So we have the satellite in good shape, the rocket adapter and the upper composite, which includes the rocket fairing, all in place – just a question of a few more tests, fuelling the satellite and putting all the pieces together!

The weather in Plesetsk snow but sunny –2°C/+2°C

From the ESA Sentinel-3Blaunch campaign team in Plesetsk

Read more about the Sentinel-3 mission

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