Nearing the End of the Beginning
19 September 2005The Venus Express spacecraft is nearing completion now as the Gallium Arsenide Triple Junction Solar Arrays are integrated and tested now. The Solar Arrays will provide the required 1100 Watts of power to the spacecraft systems. The cells of the solar arrays are typically operating at temperatures in excess of 100 °C.
Both Solar Array Wings have been successfully installed on the Spacecraft over the past week, the "+Y-wing" on 12 and 13 September and the "-Y-wing" on 14 and 15 September.
Work has also progressed in the preparation of procedures for the final countdown sequence and a full countdown rehearsal with the complete bunker team (the team that will during launch be in the underground bunker 150m from the pad) has taken place during which the final countdown sequence of about 9 hours has been practiced.