Arming Onboard Pyrotechnics
14 October 2005Friday 14 October finally saw one of the last activities before the spacecraft encapsulation under the fairing: the arming of all on-board pyrotechnic devices. Venus Express carries on-board pyrotechnic devices that will, in flight, drive the opening of propellant lines of the propulsion system, initiate deployment of the solar array wings, and also control the deployment of the boom of the MAG instrument.
During on-ground activities these are normally shortcircuited by so called SAFE-plugs located on the spacecraft's skin-connector-bracket to prevent inadvertent firing. These SAFE-plugs have now been replaced by the ARM-plugs connecting the pyros to the on-board Power Distribution Unit, and bringing the spacecraft one step closer to full launch readiness.