Entry 3: SMOS unpacked and checked out

Team in front of SMOS

2 October 2009 - Since SMOS arrived at the Plesetsk Cosmodrome two weeks ago, the team have been busy unpacking the satellite and numerous boxes of support equipment, and carrying out the first round of tests.

The satellite spent the first weekend still in its transport container, safely stored in a climate controlled storage area. On Monday 21 September, the container was opened and the team got their first look at the satellite since it was packed up a week before in France. On first inspection, the satellite looked to be in good condition.

SMOS positioned vertically
SMOS positioned vertically on 'tilting dolly'

Throughout the rest of the week, testing activities were carried out in earnest. The SMOS satellite was initially moved from a horizontal position to a vertical position and mounted on a ‘tilting dolly’. Electrical tests confirmed that the precious satellite had endured its journey without incurring any detrimental effects. Safety propulsion tests were also carried out.

During the week, the team had the opportunity to visit the launch pad, which is a few kilometres away from the integration facilities and from where SMOS will be carried into orbit on the Rockot launcher at 02.50 CET on 2 November.

SMOS team in front of launch tower
SMOS team in front of launch tower

At the end of the week there was a shift change with some of the team members leaving to return home and a new group arriving.

The week starting 28 September was dedicated to further electrical functional tests of the satellite and MIRAS payload.

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