Artemis on course for launch
ESA's Artemis spacecraft is on schedule for its 12 July launch date after fuelling problems were speedily rectified by the Artemis launch team at the tropical Kourou-based launch site late last week.
Difficulties with the loading of hydrazene - the fuel that drives the spacecraft's thrusters - meant that the tanks had to be emptied, and refilled. But due to contingencies built into the pre-launch timetable for such events, Artemis is still well on course for its imminent launch date.
"Minor problems should always be expected, but we are well prepared for all kinds of circumstances and Artemis will lift-off on its planned date," said Artemis Project Manager, Mr Gottard Oppenhauser, who is overseeing operations in French Guiana.
The re-fuelled 3100 kg telecommunications satellite was then mated to the SYLDA adaptor - a ring that is bolted and clamped to the Ariane 5 launcher to keep the satellite secure.
Artemis is now in the special assembly building where a framework is being built around the satellite to attach the spacecraft’s protective fairing. Tomorrow (5 July) radio links between Artemis under its protective fairing and the ground support equipment on the launch table will be checked and validated.
The satellite will then be joined to the launcher as upper passenger together with BSAT 2 this Friday (6 July). The various fuelling processes of the launcher will take place over the following three days before the start of a programme of simulated countdown events involving both the space segment at Kourou, the Control Centre in Fucino and the other ground stations.
By 10 July all the pyrotechnics on the launcher and the upper and lower payloads will be armed and the fairing doors closed ready for rolling out to the launch pad on 11 July.
Launch will take place at midnight European time on 12 July. Live coverage of the launch will be available on our Artemis launch website at http://www.esa.int/artemislaunch