Fuelling SMART-1 and hand over to Arianespace
30 July 2003 18:00Building S5B, CSG, French Guiana
Following the successful completion of various electrical tests, the hydrazine fuelling process took place on Monday 28th July. Hydrazine, which serves as the propellant for the attitude control system, is a highly toxic fuel and the loading procedure requires a high degree of care and attention. This is the last fuelling stage for the spacecraft. The 82 kg of Xenon, necessary to fuel the electric propulsion engine, was loaded at ESTEC, before shipment to Kourou.
SMART-1 requires a small amount of hydrazine, about 8 kg, but the toxicity of the fuel and the complexity of the operation mean technicians must apply the same precautions for fuelling large spacecraft. The picture shows two technicians from Alcatel Space Cannes busy with the fuelling operations in the hazardous facility S5B at CSG.
Fortunately there were no problems and the hydrazine was successfully loaded. Subsequently the spacecraft was weighed and its flight mass confirmed as 366.5 kg.
Since then SMART-1 has been powered up, to verify proper electrical functioning, and mated onto the launcher adapter. This is the interface with the launch vehicle and everything was checked with great care, for, in the case of a separation system malfunction, SMART-1 would not be able to activate its systems. SMART-1 will now remain mated to the adapter until in orbit separation.
With all checks complete the spacecraft was handed over to Arianespace. They will transport it inside a special container, the CCU, to the final assembly facility (BAF) where the assembling of the V162 launcher with its precious cargo will take place.
28 July - Hydrazine Loading
Launch delay - new schedule
Launch Campaign Team