Rockot Launcher Successfully Injects Sentinel-3B Earth Observation Satellite
Eurockot Launch Services GmbH of Bremen, Germany, successfully injected the Sentinel-3B satellite today at 20:57 hrs local time (17:57 hrs UTC, 19:57 hrs CET) from Plesetsk Cosmodrome in Northern Russia for the European Space Agency (ESA) using a Rockot launch vehicle. The satellite was injected at approximately 818 km altitude and 98.63 degrees inclination.
This was Eurockot’s third launch in support of the European Copernicus multiple satellite system following the successful launch of Sentinel-3A in February 2016 and Sentinel-5p in October 2017.
Copernicus is the Earth Observation Satellite Programme headed by the European Commission (EC) in partnership with the European Space Agency (ESA). Copernicus satellites support the European Union`s European policy of improving the management of the environment globally to help mitigate the effects of climate change and ensure civil security.
Eurockot Launch Services GmbH is the joint venture of ArianeGroup (51%) and Khrunichev Space Center (49%).
Upper Composite Mated with the Boosters
Today the space head (Upper Composite) was transferred from the MIK (processing facility) to the launch pad where it was lifted and finally mated with the boosters.
In the evening this operation was followed by a successful electrical line check of the launch tower harness by Khrunichev and Thales.
Upper Composite Being Readied for Transfer to the Launch Pad
Yesterday the encapsulation of the fairing was finalized and the fairing mission logos glued on the fairing. At the end of the evening everybody signed the fairing and wrote personal wishes on the sticker.
The movement of the space head (Upper Composite) to the general hall is the main event on our plan today. Just before moving all parties made their last pictures and said goodbye. The first big group of people is leaving Plesetsk today.
Tomorrow Upper Composite will be transported to the launch site and integrated on the Rockot 2nd stage.
Sentinel-3B Fairing Encapsulation
Yesterday every red tag item of the Sentinel-3B spacecraft was removed. These items covered the spacecraft instruments and parts during ground operations, like for example covers, safety pins or plates. This is a very important operation because the team should be sure that no item will be forgotten. That can eventually spoil the mission in space. After that operation a picture of the Sentinel-3B team was taken.
Then in the afternoon the fairing halves were brought in place for the last clearance check. Everything went fine so at the end of the day both fairing halves were finally closed.
The satellite is now encapsulated in the fairing and the mechanical work of the spacecraft team is done. This was a special moment for all members of the team, where the spacecraft team said goodbye to Sentinel-3B. Several years of work on the satellite are over now and the satellite is handed over to the Russian/ German Rockot Launch Vehicle team.
Sentinel-3B Mounted onto Breeze-KM Upper Stage
Yesterday the Sentinel-3B together with the launcher adapter was hoisted onto the Breeze-KM upper stage. As both the satellite and the upper stage are fuelled and pressurized it was a very sensitive operation.
Following the hoisting of Sentinel-3B onto the Breeze-KM, the stack was fixed with bolts, all interfaces were connected and the Rockot Upper Stage was closed with Multi Layer Insulation (MLI).