Charlotte Beskow updates us on ATV-5work in Kourou, French Guiana:
Raindrops are falling on our heads….
Sunday 12 January, was one of the wettest days I have ever experienced. On Monday meteo France reported that this was the sixth heaviest rainfall since they started keeping records, 45 years ago. 175 mm of water fell over CSG in 24 hours.
Monday saw the team begin solar array integration in earnest. The first steps had been taken already the previous week with the installation of the Solar Array deployment rig. This is necessary since the arrays are 11 m long and not designed to withstand the earth’s gravity.
Now it was time to put the spacecraft (ie the lower part of ATV) into the correct position. This involved putting it on a tilting stand and then … tilting it from vertical to horizontal.
Once this was done the intricate steps of Solar Ray integration could be performed (alignment check, installation and connection, followed by some tests to ensure that it operates correctly. Once the tests have been successfully concluded the wings are folded and afixed, then a protective cover is put on and the team can proceed to the next wing. There are four wings in total so the operation lasts roughly four weeks.
Manual deployment before installation
On the other side of the big hall it looked pretty much the same during the entire week. The pressurised module was in the container and the teams were busy performing leak checks on the Russian Refuelling System and on the Pressurised Module itself. These activities plus some other things kept us very busy all week.
That’s it for now, I am off to enjoy a bit of sunshine (while it lasts).