Fitting the clamp-band
The ground clamp-band, between the LISA Pathfinder science module (above, gold-coloured) and propulsion modules (below, silver-coloured), is opened prior to removal and replacement by the flight clamp-band.
The clamp-band is a belt that is tightened around two metal rings: one on the propulsion module and one on the science module. During launch, the belt holds both modules together, and once the spacecraft has reached its operational orbit around L1 – about fifty days after launch – the belt is released letting the modules fly free.
Special mobile access platforms ('cherry pickers') are used to provide access for engineers to difficult-to-reach places.
These activities are taking place in the high bay of the EPCU (Ensemble de Préparation de la Charge Utile) S5C building at the Centre Spatial Guyanais, in Kourou.