Mating of Upper Composite with Third Stage
19 October 2005Today, Wednesday 19 October 2005, at 02:45 in the morning (18 October, 20:45 UTC) the upper composite with the Venus Express spacecraft arrived in the MIK-40 launch vehicle integration building. The journey by transport train from the MIK-112 facility took five and a half hours.
During the day the upper composite was mechanically mated with the third stage, or Block I, of the Soyuz three-stage launch vehicle.
Spacecraft activities were limited to monitoring of the spacecraft's fuel and oxidiser tank pressures, and to monitoring of the air temperature under the fairing in order to guarantee proper environmental conditions. The Soyuz launcher's first and second stages, which are the four boosters and the core stage, respectively, have already been pre-assembled, and are awaiting final launch vehicle integration.
Meanwhile all preparations for the launch in the launch pad area are progressing: the bunker Electrical Ground Support Equipment (EGSE) used to control the spacecraft up to launch has been installed and all cable links to the launch tower have been tested. Communication links from the control bunker in Baikonur to the Mission Operations Centre at ESOC, voice loops over satellite as well as phone lines, have been tested and are ready for the final operations once the launcher will be installed on the launch pad.