Mounting of the Sunshield
28 November 1999The day following the mating of the spacecraft to its launcher, XMM's telescope sunshield (TSS) was mounted. Having been rehearsed in July 1999 in the ESTEC cleanrooms, this operation was carried out very smoothly by the Dornier staff in the Final Assembly Building. ESA supervisors Nobert Nikolaizig and Daniel de Chambure were particularly pleased.
The sunshield, which had been hoisted to the top of the BAF on 22 November, was lifted by a secondary crane on the mobile platform situated just above the payload preparation one. It was then inverted and placed on three stands.
In this stable position the sunshield was attached to another lifting device and moved to the spacecraft, sliding in around the base of the service module and the payload adapter.
Fastening the TSS was no easy task as some of the screws had to be placed behind the solar panels. When the sunshield was fixed, the lifting equipment was withdrawn. Thermal and electrical activities (closing pieces of thermal insulation, verifying the harness routing, and electrical checks) finished off proceedings.
Electrical and radio-frequency tests on the spacecraft are continuing and XMM's batteries are being trickle charged from a facility located in the Ariane 5 launch table.
The two half shells of Ariane 504's fairing are in the BAF encapsulation hall, ready to be hoisted to the summit of the launcher. The combined operations schedule is still on track for a launch on 10 December. Meanwhile, an Ariane 42P (flight V124 with Helios-2) is being prepared to liftoff from its pad on 3 December.