Swarm on the launch pad
Preparations for Friday’s launch of ESA’s magnetic explorer have reached an important milestone – the constellation is now in the Plesetsk launch tower.
The team in northern Russia said farewell to the three Swarm satellites at the weekend as they sealed them from view within the rocket’s fairing, which protects them from the rigours of launch. This marks the culmination of two months of work testing and preparing the Swarm constellation for launch at the cosmodrome.
Today, in a rather wintery setting, the assembly, wrapped in thermal padding, was rolled out to the launch pad and hoisted to the top of the service tower. It was then lowered onto the lower stages of the Rockot vehicle.
The next steps on the road to launch involve a ‘dress rehearsal’ of the launch procedure and fuelling of the rocket for launch on 22 November at 12:02 GMT (13:02 CET).