26 - 31 July 2000
31 July 2000Following successful electrical verification of the Fregat link, the second Cluster pair stack has been mated with the Fregat stage inside the Upper Composite Integration Facility.
It is the day of the Red Tag items removal for both Fregat and Cluster!
These red tag items are non-Flight items (such as protective covers, caps, solar array protection, pyro inhibitors; safety plugs etc.) which need to be removed before the encapsulation of tomorrow. Some "official" team pictures were taken during that day!
In view of the encapsulation of tomorrow, the fairing has been brought inside the Upper Composite Integration Facility (UCIF) clean room.
Day off for most of the team, except the electrical team who has done the pyroline verification and some S/C functional verification after the umbilical lines reconnection, but unfortunately with no real possibility to enjoy activities outside, since several days the temperature is fluctuating between 35 °C during night and 45 °C in the middle of the afternoon. The thermometer installed in front of the hotel door is currently the most watched instrument by our Western eyes that find it hard to believe what is displayed!
The Cluster stack has been first connected to the Adapteur Charge Utile (ACU) after the successful repair of the connector bracket the day before. Then, electrical validations of the Fregat-OCOE link have been carried out with the spacecraft simulator in preparation of the mating of the Cluster with Fregat foreseen the same day.
The exiting moment of the day was definitely the mating operation of the Cluster stack and its ACU on Fregat. The operation took approximately 3 hours as it has to be carried out in the safest conditions: more than 1200 kg of Cluster propellant are being displaced and put on top of 5350 kg Fregat propellant.
The hoisting operation has to be performed in several steps:
- removal of platforms from Fregat
- hoisting of Cluster stack above Fregat mounted on its support
- reinstallation of the platform for final installation of Cluster stack
- installation and mounting of Cluster stack on Fregat
The lowering of the cluster stack during the last centimetres was controlled very closely by the Lavotchskin people who were not hesitating to climb on the Fregat structure to help guide the ACU through the mounting screws. Something unthinkable with our Western launchers! But, then it works!
The fairing has arrived in the Upper Composite Integration Facility (UCIF).
The umbilical connector support bracket has been repaired and reinstalled successfully after 5 days of intensive work. This last-minute action has requested huge efforts and co-ordination
- with Astrium consortium and their subcontractors to manufacture and ship a new bracket from Europe in a very short time and
- with Aerospatiale team in charge of the Cluster stack integration on the ACU (Adaptateur Charge Utile = Flight interface to launcher (Fregat))
- and last but not least with the Russian workshop on the cosmodrome which has provided some metrology and tools for the repair.
This bracket installation has been performed overnight to avoid disrupting the work of the other teams working in the UCIF clean room: the Lavotchkin people working on Fregat (thermal blanket installation)
Electrical validation of the Fregat link has been carried out with the spacecraft simulator, in preparation of the mating of the Cluster with Fregat foreseen the day after tomorrow.
No activities on the spacecraft today. The mechanical team is busy trying to repair one of the two umbilical connector support brackets that has been accidentally slightly damaged, obliging us to reshuffle some of our electrical activities.