Last Pre-launch Functional Tests
1 December 1999XMM is but a few days away from launch. All campaign operations are on track for a lift-off on 10 December. During the last functional tests before launch, all of XMM's science instruments behaved nominally. For instance, bellows pressure and vacuum readings of the EPIC cameras were all within their expected range. All instruments are considered ready for launch.
The spacecraft's Attitude and Orbit Control System has also been tested again and everything is functioning normally. All these ultimate verifications were conducted from the S1 building by Reiner Werner, one of Dornier's senior spacecraft operators.
The spacecraft purge is being verified on a daily basis. Like the battery charging system, the purge system is located in the launch table. XMM's on-board batteries are being trickle-charged in a precise way to maximise their capacity and life in orbit.
The Ariane-5 launcher is being prepared for the fuelling of its upper storable propellant stage (EPS) and the fuelling of its Attitude Control system. All is on schedule for the Launch Rehearsal on Day-3.
Meanwhile, more school groups are visiting French Guiana. The children, from Switzerland (Cycle d'Orientation du Gibloux, Farvagny), France (Collège Buffon Paris) and the Netherlands (Nifterlake College Maarssen) followed the classical tour inside the space centre, visiting the Ariane 4 and Ariane 5 launch pads (ELA2, ELA3) and the Kourou Space Museum. They also heard presentations about the XMM mission held in the Jupiter Mission Control building.