Following the arrival of the MetOp-C at Europe’s spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, in the first week of July, the team has been busy testing and preparing the satellite for launch.
While activities are currently running on schedule, they will put on hold in mid-August and resume in mid-September because the launch date has been moved from 20 September to 6 November.
Nevertheless, almost a month into the campaign to launch MetOp-C, much has already been achieved.
Since the satellite was shipped in three parts (the ‘service module’, the ‘payload module’ and the solar array), the two main bodies of the satellite have been reunited and tested.
Coupling the MetOp-C service module and the payload module. (EUMETSAT)
Over the last week or so, the team has been concentrating on adding the huge solar array to the satellite structure.
This is no mean feat as everything has to be aligned perfectly and then the tension has to be correct before being attached properly. The large array, which weighs in at over 200 kg, will be gently deployed when MetOp-C is in orbit. This procedure takes around 15 minutes and happens in two stages: the solar array arm first rotates and then ...