From Catherine (ESA), 22 October 2013
A series of electrical checks has been completed on the Rockot booster and today its starts its four-hour journey from the MIK to launch pad. It will then be lifted into position and prepared for launch.
Krunichev has completed ‘fit checks’ of the upper stage and the fairing.
There was a first inspection of the adapter and brackets on Friday and further preparation continued over the weekend.
Meanwhile, the task of preparing the three Swarm satellites for liftoff on 14 November continues. This week, the focus has been on fixing the multilayer insulation to the satellites. Multilayer insulation blankets are used to help keep the satellites at the correct temperature in orbit.
The teams are also rehearsing the set-up procedure for launch.
Away from the Plesetsk launch facilities, the Astrium team in Friedrichshafen, Germany, has been also busy with ‘confidence tests’. These tests are carried out three weeks before liftoff and involve testing replicas of certain mechanical elements that are critical at the time of launch.
In particular, Astrium is testing the release mechanism of the accelerometer proof mass, the ‘non-explosive actuators’ for the release of the satellites’ 4-m deployable boom, and the deployment springs. These springs have been stored in their compressed state, the same as on the satellites.
These tests are especially important because of the time that has passed since the components were integrated with the satellites. The confidence tests on the replica parts ensure that there has been no adverse effects during this time and therefore they will work as they should when launched.
All the tests were successful.