Swarm Launch Vehicle Adapter Successfully Tested
In preparation for ESA's upcoming Swarm magnetic field mission to be launched by Eurockot, a further important milestone has been successfully passed at Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Center in Moscow. In the presence of the customer, the European Space Agency, the launch vehicle adapter separation test was successfully performed on May 24 and 25 for all three Swarm satellites. This device serves as interface between the three Swarm satellites and the Breeze KM upper stage of Rockot. The test verified the design and functionality of the adapter which was specifically designed for the highly complex simultaneous in-orbit release of the three spacecraft. For the launch vehicle adapter this was already the second test in its short life time concluding the adapter qualification test campaign. In March of this year the so called "Fit Check" was performed with the Swarm satellites flight hardware at the test centre of IABG in Munich. While the first test was focussed on the mechanical fit of flight satellites with flight adapter and the determination of the shock loads to be expected during spacecraft separation, this second test used accurate satellite dummies and a complex test arrangement to simulate the in-orbit separation dynamics under zero gravity conditions. The test results proved a nominal behaviour of the adapter mechanisms according to the design specification which was expected with eagerness by all project participants. With this important project milestone accomplished, the European Space Agency, Eurockot and its partner Khrunichev are one step further to the launch of ESA's mission later this year.