Tag Archives: solar array

A week in pictures: MetOp-B nears launch configuration

From ESA’s launch campaign team, Baikonur, 3 April Last week was busy, but things went well. The main activities included the pyro-connection, alignment, solar array integration and finishing off applying the multilayer insulation. To take all the alignment measurements, the satellite was positioned vertically on a ‘rotary table’. Measurements were taken using reference mirror cubes and thodolite to verify the instrument and the attitude and orbit control system were aligned. In total, 58 measurements were taken. Then came the task of joining the solar array to the satellite. To do this satellite was tilted and rotated to receive the array. The integration the solar array was finally completed and tested. In parallel, the multilayer...

Antenna checks

From the MetOp launch campaign team, Baikonur, 20 March    The photo was taken this morning and shows engineers doing a functional test of the antennas. This afternoon they are checking the alignment before they eventually attach the solar array to the satellite. The large array, which weighs in at over 200 kg, will be gently deployed when MetOp-B is in orbit. This procedure takes around 15 minutes and happens in two stages: the solar array arm first rotates and then the large eight-section panel opens out to face the Sun.  The photo below gives an impression  of just how big the MetOp satellites are. In fact, after Envisat, MetOp is the largest...