Tag Archives: launch adapter

Swarm ready to hoist

From Catherine (ESA), 13 November 2013 A hoisting device has been built around the three-satellite and launch adapter assembly. This will be used to lift the assembly onto the Breeze upper stage of the Rockot launcher. Putting the hoisting device in place took a couple of steps.  Firstly, this involved mounting the lower hoisting ring to the adapter. Then three vertical beams were bolted to the lower ring. To complete the hoisting structure, a second ring was mounted to stabilise the beams. Finally, the hoisting slings were secured to the beams and to the three arms of the crane adapter.  The whole assembly was unbolted from the lower adapter ground support equipment...

Two Swarm satellites now on launch adapter

From Catherine (ESA), 5 November 2013 On Saturday 2 November, the second Swarm satellite, FM2, was lifted from the trolley and transferred to the launch adapter. The process was a bit more complicated than for the first satellite. This is because FM2 had to be carefully manoeuvred around the first spacecraft which is already mounted on the adapter. Everybody watched very closely as the second satellite neared its final position on the adapter. The distance between FM1 and FM2 is less than 15cm at the base between the solar arrays,  and frighteningly close at the top between the harness bundles of the boom hinges. By using millimetre manoeuvres, the satellite was carefully...

First Swarm satellite on the launch adapter

From Catherine (ESA), 1 November 2013 Although the launch has been delayed for a few days, preparations to prepare for liftoff continue, albeit a little more slowly. As planned, the three satellites had been moved to the back of the hall and stowed vertically waiting to be fitted to the launch adapter. This is a tailor-made dispenser that allows the three satellites to separate simultaneously from the upper stage of the Rockot launcher. During launch the three satellites stand upright with only centimetres between them. The adapter service stand was brought into the hall, placed in front of the satellites and with careful measurements the stand was levelled. The adapter was then...

Getting ready to fix the Swarm satellites to the launch...

From Catherine (ESA), 28 October 2013 This week the satellites will be on the move again. We start the exciting, but complex period of ‘joint operations’ – mating the three satellites with the adapter and the upper stage. This will last the whole week, if everything goes smoothly as hoped and planned. Today, the detailed plan of the joint operations will be put into action. Teams from Astrium, Krunichev and the Russian military start to manoeuvre all the pieces into place in preparation. The space available in cleanroom 101A is already tight, but nevertheless the satellites have to be moved to make room for the ‘adapter service stand’ and the adapter itself....

MSG-3 fuelled

 The MSG-3 satellite has now been fully fuelled, marking a major milestone in the launch campaign. Yesterday, the team finished loading 365 kg of liquid fuel (Monomethyl Hydrazine, MMH). This follows the earlier fuelling with liquid oxidizer (Mixed Oxides of Nitrogen, MON). In total, the fuel has increased the mass of MSG-3 by about a ton. MSG-3 will now be installed on the launcher adapter. On Monday, it will be moved to the Final Assembly Building, BAF, for integration on the launcher later next week. The launcher and EchoStar 17 (co-passenger) activities are also proceeding as planned.