MetOp-2 satellite in last stages of testing
The second flight model of the MetOp satellite series is presently undergoing its final series of tests at the main contractor premises, EADS Astrium and the Intespace test facilities in Toulouse (France).
The two main modules of the satellite; the Payload Module, built by EADS Astrium in Friedrichshafen (Germany) and the Service Module, built by EADS Astrium in Toulouse were coupled together for the first time in July 2004.
Following this coupling the satellite has been subjected to tests to demonstrate the compatibility between the two modules and then to demonstrate correct functional behaviour at system level.
The satellite is now being subjected to extensive tests to demonstrate:
- the satellite’s ability to survive the launch (vibration, acoustic and shock testing)
- compatibility with flight (space) conditions (thermal vacuum and thermal balance testing)
- compatibility with the electromagnetic environment
- compatibility with the ground segment provided by Eumetsat
Space compatibility of the satellite has been demonstrated in two parts. The Payload module was tested in January 2004 at the European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC) in Noordwijk, the Netherlands in the Large Space Simulator, while the Service module was tested in the Intespace test facility in France in March 2004.
Electromagnetic compatibility tests are required to demonstrate the mutual compatibility between the satellite, its numerous transmit and receive antennas, its instruments and the many other sensitive MetOp elements. These tests are currently in progress and are expected to finish at the end of October 2004.
Following the electromagnetic testing the satellite will undergo the mechanical test campaign, which is planned from December 2004 to January 2005. During these tests the satellite will be subjected to vibration, acoustic and shock tests, which represent the actual launch environment.
The Metop-2 satellite test programme will then be completed with a final set of tests including verification of the flight software. This will lead to the Flight Acceptance Review planned for summer 2005. When successful, this will allow the launch of MetOp-2 in the last quarter of 2005.