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Preparing for Liftoff

Time to head home

13 Mar 2017, 12:39 UTC
Time to head home
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With the Sentinel-2B satellite now safely in orbit around Earth, the team at Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou spent the weekend packing up to return to Europe. They have been there since the beginning of January and although some have had a break back home, it’s been an intense two months preparing the Copernicus Sentinel-2B satellite for liftoff.
Packing to go home. (ESA)
The launch campaign involved thoroughly testing the satellite and making it ready to be encapsulated inside the Vega rocket fairing, rehearsing the launch with colleagues in ESA’s operations centre in Darmstadt, Germany, and more.
A launch campaign is the last step after years spent developing and building a satellite – and all this hard work paid off after the signal came that the satellite was in orbit and its solar wing had deployed so can generate energy.
The 1.1 tonne satellite was carried into orbit on a Vega rocket from Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana at 01:49 GMT on 7 March (02:49 CET; 22:49 local time, 6 March).
Sentinel-2B lifts off. (ESA–Stephane Corvaja, 2017)
The first stage separated 1 min 55 sec after liftoff, followed by the second stage and fairing at 3 min 39 sec and ...

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