Venus Express Mated with Fregat
12 October 2005Today, 12 October, the composite of the Launch Vehicle Adapter and Spacecraft, or stack, has been mechanically mated with the Fregat upper stage.
The activity was classified as hazardous since both the Venus Express spacecraft and the Fregat upper stage are already fully loaded carrying around 570 kg and 5000 kg of highly flammable and toxic propellant, respectively. The activity has been carried out by a combined team from the Venus Express industrial consortium and the team from NPO-Lavotchkin who are designing and building the Fregat upper stage.
The activities planned for tomorrow include the mating of the umbilical connectors between Fregat and the Launch Vehicle Adapter, through which the spacecraft is powered and commanded while still on the ground. This will be followed by a short spacecraft switch-on and functional test to confirm integrity of the umbilical lines and provide a very basic validation of the spacecraft on-board hardware.