Entry 7: Gradiometer checked and launcher rolled out for testing

Roll out of Upper Composite

22 August 2008 – With 16 working days to go (L-16) preparations continue according to plan with the week's activities being devoted to testing the satellite's electrics. This included passing an important milestone with the electrical tests on the Gradiometer – GOCE's core instrument.

The electrical tests showed that the gradiometer was in 'perfect health' with the results matching the requirements exactly. Needless to say, this was important bridge crossed at the beginning of this set of tests and set the tone for the rest of the electrical tests – as the results have been good all week. As of today, there are just the tests to run on the redundant systems.

On the launcher side, the first- and second-stage of the booster was laid horizontally and taken by rail to the launch pad 3.5 km away from the integration centre. It was successfully erected and installed in the launch tower. In addition, the Breeze-KM Upper Stage (not fuelled) and the fairing were fitted together to form the so-called Upper Composite.

Commander Koronov receives a GOCE model
Commander Koronov receives a GOCE model

On Tuesday 19 August, the Upper-Composite then left the integration area and headed for the launch pad for a trial installation on the booster. This should confirm all the interfaces are working correctly.

Last Sunday, the GOCE launch team visited the Military Space Museum at Mirny. It was a guided tour including presentation on the history of the Plesetsk Cosmodrome. During the occasion, a GOCE model was handed over to Commander Koronov, so from now on the model can be seen in the museum.

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