Thursday, 26 November 2015

The final countdown... Part 3 D-9 and D-8

As a QA there are many exciting and interesting aspects of the campaign that I have to get involved in. Now the spacecraft is encapsulated in the fairing, you could be forgiven for thinking that my job here is done... not so fast!

I also have to act as a witness for the movements of the now fully encapsulated spacecraft (as I have nicknamed it, the egg, or more formally known as the PAC ).

This involves joining the convoy that will move the fairing with the spacecraft inside from the clean room to the Vega launch pad where it will be hoisted up to the top of the Vega rocket.  

Exciting stuff!  The 10km journey is made by road and took approximately 2.5hours, yes SLOW!  It has to be very slow in order to ensure that the fiaring arrives safely.  As this is a hazardous operation, everyone involved has to travel wearing the very fetching bright orange safety overalls which are both chemical and fie retardant to protect us in the event of an accident.  It is also necessary to carry a gas mask with us at all times.

Once at the launch pad, it is time to don hard hats and safety shoes as well ready for the lifting of the fairing from the truck, to the 39.4m platform within the Vega launch tower.  

Not sure orange is really my colour! 

Image Copyright ESA–Manuel Pedoussaut, 2015

LPF is transferred by road to the launch tower.

Image Copyright ESA–Manuel Pedoussaut, 2015
Up into the launch tower...

Image Copyright ESA–Manuel Pedoussaut, 2015

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