Sentinel-3B: suited and booted

The fuelling team has been suited and booted for the hazardous task of filling the Sentinel-3B satellite with 130 kg of hydrazine – looking good guys!

Ready to load and looking fab! (ESA)

Since this is happening today, only the Thales Alenia Space fuelling team, accompanied by a propulsion expert, a doctor and interpreters are allowed in the MIK. The rescue team and fire brigade are on-call outside, ready to intervene should anything go wrong.

Suits ready and waiting. (ESA)

The rest of the team is back at the hotel today keeping out of the way and catching up on paperwork and other tasks.

Yesterday, however, was busy for everyone. In fact, we split up to cover three locations to carry out our respective duties.

One team went out to the launch pad to check on the launch pad power supply that had been installed in the ‘under table’ vault yesterday. Once the ‘self-test’ was completed, they did an end-to-end check on the umbilical transit lines to the satellite simulator connected to the cable interface on top of the tower. The electrical ground support equipment network link to the MIK via fibre optic was also verified. Everything was fine.

Sentinel-3B ready for fuelling. (ESA)

In the Mission Control Centre, one team checked on the communications and voice loops with ESA’s ESOC operations centre in Darmstadt, Germany. These are used on the day of launch for the formal delivery of flight parameters from the launch site to ESOC.

Hydrazine tanks. (ESA)

In the MIK, the train convoy took the Rockot Breeze upper stage to its fuelling station while the Khrunichev guys finished off cleaning the fairing.

At the end of the day we received the green light to fuel both the Breeze and the satellite!

The weather in Plesetsk snow but sunny –4°C/+3°C

From the ESA Sentinel-3Blaunch campaign team in Plesetsk

Read more about the Sentinel-3 mission

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