Rosetta Lander arrives in Italy for testing programme
23 October 2000The Rosetta Lander Electrical Qualification Model (EQM) is being preparedfor an exhaustive test programme following its safe delivery a two weeks ago tothe premises of Alenia Spazio in Turin, Italy.
After a 1200 km trek by road from the German Aerospace Research Centre in Cologne, the 85 kg Lander is now resting alongside the much larger modules of the Rosetta Orbiter in Alenia's integration building. The spacecraft EQMs will remain in the giant clean room until next spring.
"This will be a vital stage in the spacecraft's assembly, integration and verification process," said Alan Moseley, ESA's System AIV Engineer for Rosetta.
Over the previous weeks, engineers have been carrying out preliminary checks to ensure that all of the documentation is correct and up-to-date and the Lander was not damaged en route to Turin. This included checking data from sensors located inside the transport container that record levels of humidity, temperature and vibration.
On Wednesday 11 October, the Lander passed a bench test, during which it was attached to a spacecraft simulator to ensure that its electrical systems had not been degraded during the trip from Cologne. This clears the way for a similar "unit function test" while it is linked to the real Orbiter hardware.
For the next few months the various sections of the spacecraft - the Lander (minus its legs), the Bus Support Module and the Payload Support Module of the Orbiter - will remain separate on the clean room floor, connected only by dozens of electrical cables. This allows much easier access to the individual elements of hardware for the team of engineers entrusted with the complex task of verifying Rosetta's electrical integration and operation. Not until early next year will all three components be brought together for an electromagnetic compatibility test.
"Alenia Spazio has already carried out successfully a lengthy series of tests on the Rosetta STM (Structural Thermal Model) and now we are all looking forward to starting the EQM test programme for the Orbiter and the Lander," said an enthusiastic Alan Moseley.