Entry 2: SMOS arrives safely at Plesetsk

Antonov carrying SMOS arriving in Russia

18 September 2009 - After leaving Thales Alenia Space in the south of France on 15 September, ESA’s SMOS Earth Explorer has arrived safely at the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in northern Russia, where it will be prepared for launch on 2 November.

The Antonov aircraft carrying the Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity (SMOS) satellite, along with seven containers of support equipment, arrived at Arkhangelsk early in the morning of 16 September.

Unloading SMOS
Unloading SMOS

Once unloaded from the aircraft, the precious cargo was transported by truck to the train station and then loaded onto wagons for the 12-hour ride to the launch site.

The train arrived at the Plesetsk Cosmodrome yesterday morning and the containers have now all been placed in the integration facilities where they are being unpacked today. The long journey seems to have gone well, and the signs are that satellite and equipment have arrived in good shape.

Manoeuvring SMOS onto the truck
Manoeuvring SMOS onto the truck

The SMOS team will now spend the next six weeks testing the satellite and preparing for launch. SMOS Project Manager Achim Hahne, commented, "I am really excited that the end is getting close, and so is the team."

Copyright 2000 - 2014 © European Space Agency. All rights reserved.