New Launch Date for Venus Express
3 November 2005On Monday 31 October, following a final cleaning and inspection of the Venus Express Spacecraft, the payload fairing of the Soyuz launch vehicle was installed again after it had been removed just a week before after the discovery of contaminants.
The fairing integration was completed smoothly, and on Tuesday 1 November, the upper composite, consisting of the Venus Express spacecraft, the Fregat upper stage and the fairing, was prepared for the transport to the MIK-40 launcher integration facility.
On 2 November, very early in the morning, the upper composite arrived in the MIK-40 launcher integration building after its overnight transfer from the MIK-112 building. During the day the upper composite was mechanically mated with the Block I, the third stage of the Soyuz launch vehicle. Electrical testing of the links between the launcher's third stage and the Fregat upper stage is on-going today.
Spacecraft online activities are limited to monitoring of the pressure inside the two propellant tanks, and monitoring of the air temperature under the payload fairing, in order to guarantee proper environmental conditions for the spacecraft are maintained throughout the launcher assembly operations.
The first and second stages of the Soyuz launcher (the boosters and the core stage respectively) have already been pre-assembled and are awaiting the integration with the composite of the upper composite and third stage.