We are at J-1, i.e. the day before the planned launch of the BepiColombo satellite that will be en route to Mercury. The three-satellite-stack is under the fairing of the Ariane 5 launcher, now on its way to the launch pad. The big door of the Final Assembly Building was pulled up around 09:45 this morning. When I arrived at the viewing site at 10:30, strategically placing myself opposite the building, a crowd was already starting to gather to watch the event. Roll-outs hardly ever take start on the dot so there was plenty of time to socialise and greet members of the BepiColombo team as well as colleagues from the spaceport.
Head of the ESA Space Transportation Office in Kourou