Planck joins Herschel at the European Spaceport in Kourou
23 February 2009The Planck spacecraft has arrived at the launch site in Kourou, French Guiana, and is now in the S1B clean room ready for functional tests.
Upon arrival at Rochambeau airport in the early evening of Wednesday 18 February the Planck spacecraft, carried in a custom-built transport container, and the dedicated ground support equipment were transported by truck to the Centre Spatial Guyanais (CSG) in Kourou.
At the CSG site the spacecraft container was transferred to the airlock of the S1B building where it was cleaned before entering the airlock, and cleaned once again inside the airlock. The container was then opened, and the Planck spacecraft removed and inspected to check the condition of the spacecraft following the journey from Europe to South America.
In the meantime, the Planck ground support equipment (including the multi-purpose trolley, or MPT) was brought to the S1 transit hall where it was unpacked and inspected.
Having confirmed the spacecraft's good health it was transferred on Friday 20 February to the S1B clean room and, by means of an overhead crane, was placed on its MPT. With the spacecraft bolted to the MPT the protective textile cover that had surrounded the telescope during transport and handling was again removed. Shortly after, the hard protective custom cover was placed on the telescope.
Both Herschel and Planck now stand inside the clean room of the S1B building. This building is dedicated to pre- and post-launch operations, and to spacecraft checkout through the electrical ground support equipment. While here, both spacecraft will undergo functional tests prior to being moved to the S5 building complex for fuelling.
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