Entry 4: GOCE unpacked and alignment check complete
7 August 2008 – Since its arrival at the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in northern Russia, the GOCE satellite has been unpacked, undergone a number of manoeuvres to position the 5-metre long spacecraft onto a so-called 'rotary trolley' and had the alignment of several components checked. All of which have been carried out successfully.
The alignment checks on the Ion Thruster Assembly, Star Trackers and Gradiometer outside mirror all showed the same values as those taken at ESA's test facilities in the Netherlands before shipment – confirming that nothing has been disturbed during the journey to Russia.
In addition, the Electrical Ground Support Equipment, which is essential for carrying out further testing over the next weeks, is now up and running. The next step is to move the satellite onto a multipurpose trolley and carry out a series of electrical tests. In parallel, the 'Launch Power Supply' and the 'Telemetry Rack' will be transported and installed at the launch pad.
Needless to say, with the launch campaign going well team spirits are high!