After unpacking Sentinel-3B and positioning it on the tilting dolly, the satellite has been switched on and moved into a vertical position.
The team switched on the satellite on Friday 23 March – always a tense moment.
ESA’s Kristof Gantois said, “It had been in ‘dormant mode’ for four weeks so it was great to see the first signs of life from our baby. All its vitals look normal!”
The vibration specialists also confirmed that nothing untoward had happed to Sentinel-3B during its long journey from Cannes in France to Plesetsk in Russia. So it didn’t experience any ‘off-nominal’ vibrations or shocks and the temperature remained within limits.
From horizontal to vertical. (ESA)
“These are the very first tests to make sure the satellite is alive and well, from now on we go into the thorough testing plan,” added Kristoff.
The team also received another piece of good news from ESA’s European Spacecraft Operations Centre in Germany on Friday: they’ve passed the Operations Readiness Review, meaning that all the ground systems and operations plans & procedures are green for launch.
So, the team in Plesetsk just have the minor task of getting the satellite ready for liftoff!
Work continued on ...