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Herschel departs Europe - launch campaign underway

Herschel departs Europe - launch campaign underway

13 February 2009

On the evening of 11 February 2009 the Herschel space observatory left Europe, departing from Amsterdam Airport Schiphol onboard an Antonov cargo airplane with destination Rochambeau airport in French Guiana.

On the evening of 10 February, the Herschel spacecraft departed the ESTEC test facilities in Noordwijk, The Netherlands, travelling in its custom transport container by special convoy, arriving at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol around midnight. There, the 3-tonne spacecraft was loaded onto an Antonov plane together with additional support equipment totalling more than 30 tonnes.

The next day, on the evening of 11 February, the Antonov plane carrying Herschel took off on a non-stop flight to Rochambeau airport.

Figure 1. The Herschel convoy leaving ESTEC.
Credit: ESA

Figure 2. Herschel is loaded onto the Antonov plane.
Credit: ESA

According to schedule, Herschel will be joined at the Centre Spatial Guyanais in Kourou by the Planck spacecraft in the middle of next week. This will be the first time that the two complete spacecraft meet. In the period leading up to the launch, foreseen for Thursday 16 April 2009, the two spacecraft will undergo their final checks and preparations for the combined launch on an Ariane ECA rocket.
Last Update: 1 September 2019
25-May-2024 23:09 UT

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