Monday 19 October –
The day’s activities begin with the removal of the remaining protective covers, such as the three soft covers over
After a final inspection of
At the same time a customised SMOS lifting device is being prepared to pick up the SMOS satellite and its adapter system. For the Verhaert team this is a breathtaking moment – they are about to lose sight of ‘their’
The Russian launcher authorities take over the hoisting operation and everyone finds themselves wondering whether the height of the crane will be able to provide sufficient clearance to lift the SMOS ‘stack’ above Proba-2 on the Breeze-KM upper stage.
In the end the authorities manage the operation in a perfect manner, being carefully guided by a set of dedicated alignment rods. While SMOS and its adapter are lowered onto
This marks a very emotional moment for the team: they are letting go of their ‘baby’ after more than five years of work on the project, except for a tiny electrical umbilical which allows them to perform ongoing electrical monitoring of the satellite’s health.