Last Friday, we had to say good-bye to our satellites as they were sealed from view within the Soyuz rocket fairing.
The encapsulation process followed another critical milestone, that of mating the Sentinel-1B to the Fregat upper stage.
Moving Sentinel-1B into position to join the Soyuz Fregat upper stage. (ESA–Manuel Pedoussaut, 2016)
Earlier in the week, the Fregat had arrived in the ‘S3’ building where the CNES Microscope satellite and the three CubeSats, which have been developed through ESA’s Fly your Satellite! Education programme, were waiting, already integrated in the ASAP-S launch adapter.
Sentinel-1B joins Fregat. (ESA–Manuel Pedoussaut, 2016)
Once the Fregat had been accommodated in the ‘KMTO’ yellow scaffolding integration structure, the ASAP-S adapter with the host satellites was joined to the Fregat.
Soyuz Fregat upper stage and Sentinel-1B. (ESA–Manuel Pedoussaut, 2016)
The next main job was to check all the connections in preparation for mating Sentinel-1B to the Fregat, and then finally mating could take place.
When the KMTO scaffolding was opened, it revealed an impressive set of satellites – all tested, all verified, all ready for space.
It was at this point that the teams started to get very excited.
Early Friday morning, the team went to ...