journal 18-October-2018 02:26:18

17 - 25 July 2000

26 July 2000

After final thermal and mechanical and electrical activities on the second Cluster pair, both spacecraft have been stacked together in the Upper Composite Integration Facility and the stack is mated with the Adaptateur Charge Utile (ACU).

25 July

The electrical team running the AFT (from left to right Heinrich Sondermann (Astrium); Joseph Pereira (ESA) and Tim Norforld (TGI).

Early in the morning, both spacecraft were switched on and then the Abbreviated Functional Test (AFT) was carried out. This test consists of checking the spacecraft status by performing short essential tests for the experiments and the sub-systems. The test was run from the Payload Processing Facility control room by the Overall Check-Out Equipment linked to the Check-Out Terminal Equipment in the UCIF, under the supervision of the electrical group (see picture).

This test is followed by the recharging of the batteries and by the verification of the pyro lines.

Tonight, the Fregat stage, which has been fuelled over the weekend, is due to arrive in our building (the Energia building) for its mating with the Cluster stack at the end of the week.

24 July (evening)

The Cluster stack with Rumba and Tango has been mated onto the Adapteur Charge Utile (ACU), which is our flight interface to the launcher. The stack has been placed onto the ACU with the help of guiding clamps for the last centimetres of the vertical motion. Once installed, the clamp band was mounted around the interface, centred and tensioned. The operation took about 3 hours in total.

Rumba-Tango stack on the ACU inside the UCIF clean room

The UCIF with in front the fire brigade ready for intervention in case of problems (NB: S/C are fuelled) and in the background the fairing (left), the Fregat support adapter in front of UCIF door (middle) and the shipment containers (right).

Then, the two umbilical connectors were connected for extended electrical tests, which are due to take place tomorrow.

22 July

Both spacecraft have been stacked together this afternoon in the Upper Composite Integration Facility (UCIF) clean room. The operation was conducted very smoothly as follows:

  • Installation of hoisting device on top of Rumba
  • Hoisting of Rumba above Tango
  • Lowering of Rumba on top of Tango
  • Installation of clamp band between the 2 satellites
  • Positioning, centring and tensioning of the clamp band

The installation and tensioning of the clamp band is quite tricky as the workers have to operate on a specially made horizontal platform which gives access to the interface between the 2 spacecraft with a gap not exceeding 40 cm in width.

Hoisting of Rumba above Tango in the UCF clean room

Tensioning of clamp band with worker laying on the horizontal platform to access the working area

21 July

All mechanical, thermal and electrical activities have been completed on both spacecraft, FM 5 - Rumba and FM 8 - Tango, including the pyro line verification, before the stacking. These activities were ended with a detailed inspection of the solar panels.

20 July

The thermal blankets of the lower platform have been closed on FM 8 (Tango). For one engineer from Astrium Dornier, Peter Grossner, it was a rather emotional moment as it was the last blanket he will ever install on a spacecraft before his retirement at the end of the year. In total, he has spent 38 years in Dornier working on all German and most European spacecraft since the beginning of the space era, including Azur, the first German satellite. During the last 12 years, he has specialised in designing, manufacturing and installing thermal blankets on many satellites such as Cluster, Rosat etc.

Installing thermal blanket around connector bracket

Grounding measurements took place on FM 5 (Rumba) to verify proper mounting of the thermal blankets.

Grounding measurements on Rumba

In the meantime, some packing work has started for the shipment back of the equipment due to take place end of August.

Andreas Ivady preparing for packing

19 July

An end-to-end power test was carried out on FM 5 to ensure the correct connection of the batteries. The last red tag items were also removed.

18 July

Same activity as yesterday (battery and final balance masses installation), but this time on FM 5 (Rumba). In the meantime, an end-to-end power test was carried out on FM 8 to ensure the correct connection and functioning of the batteries. Then, the thermal blankets of the lower platform were closed on FM 8.

The team from Aerospatiale who will mount the clamp band on the adapter (ACU) arrived in Baikonur today.

17 July

The excitement of the first launch is now over. The successful launch (confirmed by ESOC) has been duly celebrated with a forced bath in the hotel swimming pool for some of the launch team members before they went back to Europe for a holiday!

The remaining people are now concentrating on the second launch and are already working on the packing of the first items for shipment back to Europe.

The two Cluster spacecraft that are still on the ground are resting on their stands in the Upper Composite Integration Facility (UCIF) clean room. Battery and final balance masses have been installed on FM 8 (Tango).


Last Update: 01 August 2006

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