Status reports from Baikonur
9 August 2000All times are in CEST (UT + 2 hours)Wednesday 9 August 15:20 "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 fromESA's Operations Centre in Darmstadt, from where the 4 Clusters are controlled.
14:47 '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.
14:44 Separation from the Fregat has occurred, confirms ESOC's Howard Nye at the press conference in London.
13:30 CEST 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.
13:13:35:440 millisec A perfect liftoff! reports Alberto Gianolio, Cluster Deputy Project Manager, '5 minutes into the flight the boosters and fairing have separated and the flight is nominal.'
T-6 min. 'Both spacecraft are declared 'ready for launch'.
T-14 min. 'All systems are nominal, the ground segment and OCC are green for launch', reports the Baikonur team.
T-23 min. 'Retraction of the service tower has started', reports Alberto Gianolio, Cluster Deputy Project Manager.
12:43 'At T-31 min. the ground segment is green and everything is 'go' for launch', reports the ESA team in Baikonur.
12:15 The Cluster team in Baikonur confirm that 'the ground segment is green and everything is nominal for launch'
11:45 'Filling of the Soyuz launcher is completed and everything is nominal for launch', reports Cluster Operations Manager Gerard Melchior from the bunker in Baikonur.
09:40 The State Commission has given its go-ahead and the filling of the Soyuz launcher (with liquid oxygen and kerosine) has started.
09:00 "The ground segment is 'all green' and the countdown sequence is proceeding nominally" , reports Joe Pereira of the Cluster team.
08:30 The two spacecraft are in launch mode on external power.
08:10 The spacecraft countdown has started. The telemetry connections are operational and the spacecraft are in pre-launch mode.
06:50 '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.
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.
Tuesday 8 August
No major activities on the spacecrafts. Both spacecraft have been switched off and the batteries charged. The purging has been checked.
Monday 7 August
The repetition of the countdown procedure for both the launcher and the Cluster pair (the 'dress rehearsal') was done successfully in real time in Baikonur with the support of ESOC. Everything went smoothly. All procedures for the spacecrafts have been rehearsed until lift-off.
Still green light for launch on Wednesday!
Sunday 6 August 20:26
A Soyuz-U rocket carrying a Progress M1-3 cargo ship was launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan for the International Space Station (ISS) Sunday night from the Gagarin launch pad perfectly on schedule at 18:26 UT. This is the first Progress cargo delivery ship sent to the International Space Station.
Docking will occur two days after launch at 20:14 UTC on Aug. 8 With the successful result of this launch, everything is now green for the Cluster launch on 9 August at 11:13:35 UTC.