Blazing hot temperatures welcomed ESA's Venus Express spacecraft as it arrived at the Yubileiny airport of the Baikonur cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, on Sunday morning, 7 August.
The shipment, including the spacecraft and all the complex equipment needed for ground support to prepare for launch, was carried by an Antonov 124 cargo plane which left the airport of Toulouse, France, on Saturday 6 August.
On arrival the precious load was unloaded from the huge cargo bay of the plane and transported by train into the big MIK hangar at the cosmodrome. In these clean rooms the spacecraft has now started its final series of tests before launch, scheduled to take place on 26 October.
From now until the end of August ESA and the industrial teams who built Venus Express will check again the integrity of all spacecraft systems and their functionality after the journey.
This includes the delicate checks of the spacecraft propulsion system. With these tests, currently underway in the so-called Hazardous Processing Facility, the engineers ensure that the propulsion system and the pressurising mechanisms are functioning correctly, and that the system is still leak-tight after transportation.
Subsequent tests on the basic performance of the spacecraft will follow, such as electrical and functional testing including on-ground simulation of actual mission scenarios.
After these operations on the spacecraft a new broader series of tests will start at the beginning of September. The Venus Express ground system, located at ESA's European Space Operations Centre (ESOC), in Darmstadt, Germany will be test-connected to the spacecraft located in Baikonur, so that the engineers can confirm that the ground station and Venus Express can 'talk' properly to each other over the course of the Venus Express mission.
Everything on track for the launch of Venus Express, the next planetary mission of the European Space Agency.
Starsem - the Soyuz
Venus Express factsheet
Subscribe To SpaceDaily Express
Venus Express Launch Campaign Starts
Toulouse, France (ESA) Aug 09, 2005
ESA's Venus Express spacecraft recently completed its last phase of testing in Europe and is ready to be shipped to its launch site at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2016 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement All images and articles appearing on Space Media Network have been edited or digitally altered in some way. Any requests to remove copyright material will be acted upon in a timely and appropriate manner. Any attempt to extort money from Space Media Network will be ignored and reported to Australian Law Enforcement Agencies as a potential case of financial fraud involving the use of a telephonic carriage device or postal service.|