journal 19-June-2018 01:06:42

9 August 2000

09 August 2000

At 17.13 Kourou local time (11.13 UT) today, the second pair of Cluster spacecraft lifted off from pad 6 at Baikonur Cosmodrome aboard a Soyuz-Fregat launch vehicle. On a scorching summer afternoon, with temperatures well over 40 °C, conditions were perfect for this second act in the Cluster launch drama.

Launch party at the Sputnik hotel

Speech of Jean-Yves Le Gall, President of Starsem

Time (UT) Time w.r.t. T0 Events
13:20 +2h 06m "The team are very happy!" said Alberto Gianolio from Baikonur. "The injection went as expected, the solar aspect angle is nominal and all units are on the prime chain - no switchovers were required. There has been nothing unexpected, telemetry is being received and commands sent to the spacecraft." The Baikonur team are now on the move, and reporting continues from ESA's Operations Centre in Darmstadt, from where the 4 Clusters are controlled
12:47 +1h 33m "I can report the excellent news that we have acquired both spacecraft. Initial status checks look nominal and we are now checking the data," reports a delighted Alan Smith, Cluster Flight Operations Director at ESA's Operations Centre in Darmstadt. Initial checks show that "both spacecraft are spinning at the correct rate and are at the correct angle," he told the waiting audience at the press conference in London by video link
12:44 +1h 30m Separation from the Fregat has occurred, confirms ESOC's Howard Nye at the press conference in London

One hour after the launch of the second pair of Cluster II spacecraft

From right to left: Professor Roger Bonnet (ESA Director of Science) and Alberto Gianolio (Cluster II deputy project manager)

Getting from ESOC the first information on the success of the mission

Professor Roger Bonnet, ESA Director of Science

Hugo Marie, acting Head of Science Communication; Roger Bonnet, ESA's Director of the Scientific Programme and Jean-Yves Le Gall, President of Starsem

Time (UT) Time w.r.t. T0 Events
11:30 +16 min The first Fregat burn is completed, and everything is "very nominal", said a happy Alberto Gianolio from Baikonur. Fregat is is now in eclipse (shadowed by the Earth) for a few minutes, and we wait for the second Fregat burn in an hour and a quarter. The Fregat and the two Cluster satellites are now safely installed in their initial preliminary orbit, some 200 km above the Earth. They will remain out of contact from ground stations as they head south east over the Pacific Ocean, and swing back towards Africa, where the second Fregat burn will take place

11:13:
35:440

+0 min A perfect lift-off! reports Alberto Gianolio, Cluster Deputy Project Manager, "5 minutes into the flight the boosters and fairing have separated and the flight is nominal."  Topped by a fairing with a rectangular blue Cluster logo, the launch vehicle lifted off from pad 6 exactly on time. Marked by a trail of flame, the launcher disappeared from view some 90 seconds later, after breaking through a thin layer of upper ice cloud.

Lif-off of the Soyuz launcher carrying the second Cluster pair, 17:13 local time (11:13 UTC).

Inside the bunker few minutes before launch

Image on the right: Gerard Melchior, Launch Campaign Director, assisted by Heinrich Sondermann and Jo Pereira

The Communication Cell during the final countdown

From right to left:

Professor Roger Bonnet
ESA Director of Science,

John Ellwood
Cluster II project manager

Alberto Gianolio
Cluster II deputy project manager

The Viewing stand

Image above from left to right: Professor Roger Bonnet, ESA Director of Science, John Ellwood, Cluster II project manager and Alberto Gianolio, Cluster II deputy project manager

Time (UT) Time w.r.t. T0 Events
11:08 -6 min Both spacecraft are declared 'ready for launch'
11:00 -14 min All systems are nominal, the ground segment and OCC are green for launch, reports the Baikonur team
10:51 -23 min "Retraction of the service tower has started", reports Alberto Gianolio, Cluster Deputy Project Manager
10:43 -31 min the ground segment is green and everything is 'go' for launch, reports the ESA team in Baikonur
10:15 -59 min The Cluster team in Baikonur confirm that 'the ground segment is green and everything is nominal for launch'
09:45 -1h 29m "Filling of the Soyuz launcher is completed and everything is nominal for launch", reports Cluster Operations Manager Gerard Melchior from the bunker in Baikonur
07:40 -3h 34m The State Commission has given its go-ahead and the filling of the Soyuz launcher (with liquid oxygen and kerosine) has started
07:00 -4h 14m "The ground segment is 'all green' and the countdown sequence is proceeding nominally", reports Joe Pereira of the Cluster team
06:30 -4h 44m The two spacecraft Rumba and Tango are in launch mode on external power
06:10 -5h 04m The spacecraft countdown has started. The telemetry connections are operational and the spacecraft are in pre-launch mode
04:50 -6h 24m "The two spacecraft are switched on", reports Gerard Melchior, the ESA Cluster operations manager from the bunker in Baikonur. Weather condititons in Baikonur this morning are excellent, the temperature is currently 31 °C, and there is a moderate wind

On the launch mast, removing purge lines from the fairing.

The day of the launch for the second Cluster pair.

The next key step is the State Commission's final 'go for launch', when it gives permission for filling of the Soyuz to take place.


Last Update: 01 August 2006

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