SMOS and Eurockot tighten interfaces
As part of the engineering process, an important document defining all the interfaces between the SMOS spacecraft and the Rockot launch vehicle was recently formally signed at ESA-ESTEC in the Netherlands.
The signing follows the Preliminary Mission Analysis Review, which was carried out between February and April this year. A significant milestone during the review was a set of meetings that were held in Moscow at the end of March and attended by all parties involved in the launch of the SMOS mission, namely: ESA (SMOS and Proba-2 teams), the French Space Agency CNES, Eurockot, Khrunichev, Alcatel-Alenia Space (SMOS platform) and Verhaert Design & Development (Proba-2).
The meetings provided the forum to discuss, clarify and agree on all the technical issues concerning the interfaces between the launch vehicle and the satellites. SMOS, due for launch at the end of 2007, is the prime satellite on the launcher with the Proba-2 satellite carried as a secondary passenger.
All the technical points raised during the review have subsequently been compiled in a document called the SMOS-Launcher ICD (Interfaces Control Document), which was formally signed by the SMOS satellite and launch partners in ESA's facilities in the Netherlands on 23-24 May 2006.
SMOS and Rockot now have the solid foundations to begin the next phase, that being the Final Mission Analysis Review planned by the end of 2006/beginning 2007. This also means that things are on track for launch at the end of next year.