Planck spacecraft check-outs near completion
11 March 2009Recent activities around the Planck spacecraft have included the installation of multi-layer insulation on the solar array, preparations for helium filling, several sub-system functional tests and the final cleaning of the spacecraft before launch.
MLI thermal covering is installed
On Wednesday, 4 March, the multi-layer insulation (MLI) was secured to the outer part of the solar array at the base of the service module. The final inspections of the MLI and solar array were performed immediately after this operation.
Preparations for helium filling
In the second half of last week several system reference tests (SRT), part of the series of ongoing functional tests, were successfully completed. These verified the health of the spacecraft's four major sub-systems, responsible for power conditioning, thermal control, attitude measurement and control, and for command and data management. One more SRT is scheduled for next week, this time to verify the telemetry and tele-command subsystem (TT&C).
On Friday 6 March, the spacecraft was meticulously cleaned with a special vacuum hoover. The spacecraft's surface was inspected using UV light to detect dust particles that fluoresce after UV illumination. During the operation the spacecraft was slowly rotated on its spin-axis in order to be able to inspect every corner.
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