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Launch preparations in progress

With the new launch date of the 28th December in mind, a quick update on the launch and what to expect would seem appropriate. Following the fitting of the Fairing (nose cone), the explosive bolts that will later be used to release the GIOVE-A payload from the Fregat (the upper component of the rocket that holds the payload) are currently being fitted. Finally, the covers and connections are covered or taped up and access plates secured for take off. This all takes place within a Fregat preparation clean room to protect the valuable payload's sensitive instruments from damage or contamination. Once the fairing is released, the payload is open to space but is still attached to the Fregat. That happens with a separate set of explosive bolts that fire once the rocket is in the final orbit. Once the launch company, Starsem are satisfied with the Fregat's level of protection it will be transferred to the rocket building, where it will be slowly fitted to the Soyuz rocket to ensure precise alignment. This process takes between one and two days to complete. The launcher is moved to the launch pad three days before launch. This is necessary, because the erection and mounting of the rocket is a very delicate process and therefore a necessarily slow operation. The sequence is as follows: Day 1 - Transport, raising and connection of filling equipment Day 2 - Finalise rocket preparation and space time to fix problems Day 3 - Filling of the launch vehicle with propellant and launch On the day, the rocket is mounted to the launch tower, and two launch clamps attached to hold it in place. The rocket is then fuelled with Kerosene and liquid oxygen. Because liquid oxygen has a very low boiling point of -183.0 degrees C, it is stored in insulated tanks to prevent a rise in temperature that would evaporate the fuel. Even so, the liquid oxygen will begin to boil off and is continuously replaced until launch is imminent.
The explosive bolts will cause the two-part Fairing will split, exposing the payload.





20 December 20050 Comments1 Comment

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