Here’s a recap of the past week in Kourou, as we put together the final pieces of the Gaia jigsaw puzzle:
D - 8
On Tuesday 10 December, after the smooth transfer from the fuelling facility to the Upper Composite Integration Facility (building S3B) we proceeded to mate the spacecraft and the flight adaptor on to Fregat, the upper stage of the launcher.
This was an intricate operation that required a very delicate touch.
People in the picture: Celine Lopez Astrium AIT Engineer, Denis Bassi Astrium AIT engineer
Thanks to a very detailed and well-prepared procedure and organisation by the mechanical team, this operation went like clockwork (the spacecraft needed to be rotated several times to enter the yellow scaffolding). On completion of the mechanical mating, it was the turn of the electrical team to verify the health and functionality of Gaia. This is the last electrical test before the encapsulation.
D - 7
Olivier Michel, Vincent Tortel and Fabrice Cherouat, all Astrium AIT Engineers working at the top of the launch pad gantry.
For the spacecraft, this day was dedicated to removal of the protective covers, the thermal finishing and more ...