After an eventful journey to Russia, by plane, lorry and train, the Sentinel-3A satellite is safe and sound in the Plesetsk cosmodrome in northern Russia, for lift-off next month.
Even before the three-day journey to the Plesetsk launch site could begin, bad weather in Russia delayed the plane’s departure from Nice airport for an entire week.
Ready and waiting to leave Nice airport (Credits: ESA)
The Antonov aircraft finally took off from Nice airport on 27 November bound for a stopover in Moscow to clear paperwork before heading to snowy Archangel. The Antonov landed in Archangel on 28 November.
Arrival in Archangel (Credits: ESA)
The delicate process to unload the satellite from the aircraft took more than three hours.
Unloading Sentinel-3 (Credits: ESA)
Once unloaded, a convoy of lorries delivered the satellite and its support equipment to Plesetsk station for loading onto a special train for the final leg to the cosmodrome.
Safe in the integration hall (Credits: ESA)
In the coming days, in the integration facility of the Plesetsk Cosmodrome, the satellite will be unpacked and put through stringent tests before it is fuelled, attached to the upper stage of the Rockot launcher and sealed within the fairing.