Spacecraft on Adapter
24 November 1999Only two weeks away from the final count and the XMM satellite campaign in Kourou remains on track for the launch on 10 December.
The spacecraft has now been mounted on its launch adapter (ACU - Adaptateur Charge Utile). This cylindrical structure interfaces with the launcher and will ensure the release of the spacecraft.
The ACU mounting took place on 23 November. It entailed hoisting XMM, verifying its interface, lowering the spacecraft onto the ACU, having once again verified and cleaned all the mechanical interfaces.
Then the clamp band was installed, rather like a belt, fastening the spacecraft to the ACU. (At the end of the Ariane 5 flight, the satellite will be released when the clamp band is severed pyrotechnically). The clamp band was centred very precisely and tightened in several steps (to a value of 45kN) under the constant supervision of XMM quality assurance staff.
After the spacecraft had been mounted on the ACU, XMM was electrically reconnected via its umbilical cables.
The A504 launcher campaign is progressing normally in the BAF, including preparations for the combined launcher and spacecraft operations (POC). This has involved connections, cleaning, line checks and ground systems. Combined Operations will begin with the mating of the spacecraft ACU to the launcher.
The launch vehicles fairing has also arrived in the Final Assembly Building.