Over the weekend, Sentinel-3B was mated with the launch adapter in the next steps to prepare it for launch next week.

On the launch adapter (credits: ESA – S. Corvaja)

Following successful independent testing of both the satellite and the Rockot launcher, we have now reached the phase of the ‘combined operations’, where all teams work together to mount the satellite on Rockot’s upper stage and fit it in the fairing.

On Friday, the rocket fairing was inspected to ensure it meets the stringent cleanliness requirements. Upon confirmation, everything was ready to start mating Sentinel-3B to the launch adapter the next day.

Fairing inspection (credits:  ESA – S. Corvaja) 

This was a very delicate operation as the now-fuelled satellite was lifted from the stand on the fuelling platform onto the adapter. But at the end of the day the mating was successfully completed, as the first major step of the combined operations.

A delicate operation (credits: ESA – S. Corvaja)

On Sunday, the first switch-on of the satellite on the adapter was  successfully performed, together with a set of electrical checks to prove that the new assembly is working properly.

In the afternoon, satellite and adapter were placed on the yellow transport dolly, ready to be transferred to the 101B cleanroom where the launch adapter, called the Breeze Upper Stage, is located and waiting for us!

On the dolly (credits: ESA – S. Corvaja)

The weather in Plesetsk mostly sunny -2 / +6 degrees

From the ESA Sentinel-3B launch campaign team in Plesetsk

Read more about the Sentinel-3 mission