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Preparing for Liftoff

On the pad

12 Feb 2016, 17:19 UTC
On the pad
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Early this morning – meaning at 06:00 – we were greeted by a wonderful dawn with completely clear sky.
Roll out to launch pad. (ESA–Stephane Corvaja, 2016)
Having arrived at the MIK 20 minutes before the start of the rollout, we saw the military’s last preparatory activities, with all the people lined-up in front of their Chief being debriefed on their respective role.
At precisely 06:00, the train convoy, which comprises the locomotive, thermal conditioning wagon with air conditioning system and equipment to measure environmental conditions during transport, and the satellite transportation unit left the MIK and started the three-hour six-km trip to the launch pad.
At 09:00 some of us had the opportunity to assist at the launch pad with the arrival of the convoy, which was shining bright under the light of the sun just rising in front of it.
We couldn’t have hoped for anything better!
In the launch tower. (ESA–Stephane Corvaja, 2016)
All good things have always a price though. In our case, it was the temperature, which was colder than it has been these past few days. Minus 5°C on the thermometer combined with the unusually cold wind at 30 km/hr felt like –11°C. This ...

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