Venus Express Umbilical Connections Tests
13 October 2005Today, 13 October, saw the first switch-on of the Venus Express spacecraft after its mating with the Fregat Upper Stage.
Prior to this, the umbilical connectors between Fregat, through which the spacecraft is powered and commanded while still on the ground, had been mated: the only electrical connection to the spacecraft is now through the launch vehicle's umbilical ground connector located on the skin of the interstage section of the Fregat Upper Stage.
After switch-on a set of basic electrical tests was carried out to verify integrity of all umbilical connections from the Electrical Ground Support Equipment (EGSE) through Fregat and Launch Vehicle Adaptor up to the spacecraft. After completion of the tests the spacecraft was switched off, with the next switch-on planned only for the final arming of the spacecraft's flight batteries on the night before the rollout to the launch pad.
The last activity of the day was the connection of the pyrotechnic lines between Launch Vehicle Adaptor and Fregat, through which the Fregat will initiate the separation of the spacecraft from the launch vehicle, by firing the pyrotechnic boltcutters of the clampband.