Preparing experiments in lab
Preparing experiments in the ESTEC labs

Foton-M3 prepares for launch - story in pictures

13 September 2007

Experiments for the Foton-M3 mission were prepared in the labs at ESA's research and technology centre, ESTEC, in Noordwijk, the Netherlands. At the peak of activity over 100 scientists and engineers were gathered in Noordwijk preparing experiment payloads for flight.

Experiment hardware transported in containers
Experiment hardware was transported in containers from ESTEC to Baikonur

Around 60 containers of equipment and ground support equipment, with a total weight of 450 kilograms, left ESTEC by truck early on the morning of 10 September 2007.

The containers were transported by road to Rotterdam Airport. From there a chartered airplane took the equipment and many of the scientists and engineers first to Samara, in Russia, and, after customs clearance, onto Baikonur Cosmodrome, in Kazakhstan.

Once in Baikonur, following an inspection of all hardware to make sure everything had arrived in working order, the experiments were integrated into the Foton-M3 capsule.

YES2 experiment is integrated with the Foton-M3 capsule
Installation of Biopan on the exterior of the Foton re-entry capsule
Foton-M3 hatch closure
Foton-M3 is hoisted towards rocket fairing
Foton-M3 spacecraft is placed in the fairing
The upper part of the launch vehicle is hoisted for horizontal mating. FOTON M-3 launcher assembly, MIK 112
Roll-out of the Soyuz launcher vehicle
Soyuz moved into vertical position
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