A happy team after MetOp-B health check
From Damiano Serlenga (ESA), Baikonur Cosmodrome, 19 March 2012
MetOp-B launch campaign team
Still snowing here in Baikonur! This photo of the team was taken in front of the MIK-112 after Test Review Board of the ‘satellite health check’. This test confirms the instruments on MetOp-B are ‘alive’. There were about 80 of us involved in the test, including support teams from Europe, USA and Canada. The whole teams has been working a double shift for a week to get through the test.
Everything has gone well and we’re now ready for the next milestone: integrating MetOp-B’s solar array.
MetOp launch campaign takes off
From Damiano Serlenga (ESA), Baikonur Cosmodrome, 6 March 2012
Loading MetOp-B onto the Antonov aircraft at Toulouse airport
We have arrived at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. We flew on an Antonov cargo aircraft from Toulouse, France along with several containers of ground support equipment we need to prepare MetOp-B for launch on 23 May.
The shipment from France to Kazakhstan was made by three Antonov cargo aircraft. The first carried 12 containers of equipment needed to prepare the satellite for launch, the second carried the MetOp-B satellite (the payload module and service module) along with another 6 containers and the third flight carried MetOp-B’s solar array and 10 more containers.
The journey hasn’t been easy as the weather caused delays. In fact, the satellite shipment was held up in Moscow for more than three days because of snow.
MetOp-B will follow on from MetOp-A, which was launched in 2006, to provide essential data for weather predication and climate monitoring. Since MetOp-A is still in service, the two satellites will fly in tandem.
The series of MetOp satellites carry a host of sensitive instruments to measure a wide range of variables such as temperature and humidity, wind speed and direction over oceans, ozone and other atmospheric gases.
The coming weeks will be spent integrating and testing this second MetOp satellite before it joins its Soyuz launcher that will take it into polar orbit.