Space | 20. May 2010

Safety first in the fuelling hall

TanDEM-X has left the integration facility for its reaction control system tank to be filled with hydrazine over the next few days. To do this, the satellite has been moved to the fuelling station as was reported earlier. Fuelling is a dangerous job, because the propellant used is quite toxic. When you enter the fuelling hall, the sign over the entrance reminds everyone to not forget the dangers. Translated, it reads, "Regardless of how urgent your work is, safety comes first." This is a reference to the devastating Nedelin fuelling catastrophe here in Baikonur in 1960, which took 126 lives.

Knowing that success of the mission is dependent on finishing this task flawlessly, it will be carried out by the German team's specialists from Astrium Lampoldshausen. Over the next few days, they will fill the tank with more than 70 kilograms of propellant.

TanDEM-X in der Betankungshalle

The TanDEM-X satellite in the fuelling hall. Image: DLR.