Venus Express mated to Soyuz
On Wednesday 19 October 2005, the Venus Express spacecraft arrived in the launch vehicle integration building at Baikonur. The journey by transport train took five and a half hours.
During the day the 'upper composite', which includes Venus Express, the Fregat and the fairing, was mechanically mated with the third stage, or Block I, of the Soyuz three-stage launch vehicle.
Meanwhile all preparations for the launch in the launch pad area were progressing. Communication links from the control bunker in Baikonur to the European Space Operations Centre (ESOC), voice loops over satellite as well as phone lines, have been tested and are ready for the final operations once the launcher is installed on the launch pad.
Final adjustments have been made to countdown procedures in close co-operation with the Russian launch authorities on one side and ESOC on the other side.
On 21 October 2005, the launcher final integration will take place, followed by flight arming of the spacecraft on-board batteries. The team then needs authorisation from Russian State Commission for the launcher roll-out to the pad.