TanDEM-X makes progress
We are now in the second week of our TanDEM-X launch campaign here in Baikonur. The satellite has been installed on its test rig and a quick check shows that the instrument and spacecraft are in good health. Meanwhile, the propulsion and cold gas systems have been pressurised to check that they are leak tight.
On Saturday evening, everyone was pleased with the successful work done so far. The team had been working hard through the week and was looking forward to a free and lazy Sunday. Relaxing at the hotel’s pool or taking a sightseeing tour in downtown Baikonur were the means available to recharge our batteries. And on Sunday evening, everyone was back again to join the team dinner – with fresh motivation for the following week’s challenges. Hydrazine fuelling is up next – a dangerous job that will be carried out by specialists from Astrium. For this, the spacecraft has to go back into its transport container again, for a short journey by truck to the appropriate fuelling station at the Cosmodrome's Test Site 31. This will be the next hurdle to overcome. But we know that the launcher allocated by the Russian authorities for TanDEM-X has already been placed in the silo, and this is further motivation for us.
Update, 18 May: Fuelling will start on Thursday, 20 May.
TanDEM-X in the Test Site 31 cleanroom at the Cosmodrome
The team at the Gagarin memorial in Baikonur City
The team visit the Soyuz monument in Baikonur City