Entry 16: Team make ready to wake up GOCE

GOCE container

12 February 2009 – Now 12 days on since the GOCE
'advance team' arrived at the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in northern Russia and preparations to wake up the GOCE satellite and resume the launch campaign are going well.

Although temperatures are down to -30°C and the ground covered with snow, the team quickly acclimatised and started work on checking the facilities, the GOCE satellite and equipment that will be used during the launch campaign. The satellite has been kept safely inside the transport container filled with nitrogen in order to ensure controlled environmental conditions during the storage period. In addition, the premises hosting the satellite transport container and the support equipment have been kept sealed and monitored via a remote system of webcams and temperature/pressure sensors installed by ESA and Thales Alenia space before leaving Plesetsk last October.

The next logistical job was to clear the main processing hall, which was occupied by GOCE equipment, so that the last series of tests on the Rockot launcher's Breeze Upper Stage can be carried out over the next two weeks. This sequence of tests represent the final part of the verification activities performed on the launcher following the implementation of the corrective measures to third stage, which were established by the Russian authorities as a result of the anomaly that delayed the launch last autumn.

Within the next week, the whole ESA/Thales Alenia Space team will arrive and operations will start with the 'awakening' of the GOCE satellite which has been in storage at the launch site since last October.

Please see the video reports (links in right-hand bar) from Plesetsk.

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