XMM Inside Fairing
29 November 1999After removal of practically all red-tagged items not required for flight (including thruster caps and solar array cover panels), and the installation of most green-tagged items required for flight, the XMM spacecraft received its protective fairing on 29 November. Certain items, such as arming plugs will never the less be accessible at three days before launch (D-3), through small trap doors in the fairing.
The two half shells of the fairing had been assembled at the ground level of the Final Assembly Building. The fairing mounting was managed by Gilles Triay, Arianespace.
Before being hoisted to the summit of the building, the fairing had also received the new XMM mission logo, a design using the winning entries of the XMM "Draw me a telescope" competition. However, pictures of the logo will only be revealed on launch day!
As the fairing was gently lowered - technically called the closure - it was time for many of the XMM Project team, including Project manager Robert Lainé, to say "goodbye" to their baby. Placing and fastening the fairing took some three hours, finishing at 20:00 local time.
Earlier in the day, Arianespace had offered a drink to all those involved in the XMM campaign. The gathering took place at the Ariane 5 launch zone (ELA-3), at the extremity of one of the newly extended flame trenches which evacuate the exhausts of Ariane 5 at liftoff.