Launch campaign gets under way

24 July 2003

The Mission Flight Acceptance Review (MFAR) board meeting took place on 8 July and confirmed the readiness of SMART-1 to be shipped to Kourou. On 14 July SMART-1 was moved by road from the clean rooms at ESTEC to Schiphol Airport, Amsterdam, to be loaded onto an Antonov 124 cargo plane.

The spacecraft, along with all the required ground support equipment, ESA and industry staff, departed on a midnight flight for the Cayenne airport in French Guiana.

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SMART-1 arrives at Rochambeau, French GuianaAccess the image

At 06:00 the following morning, 15 July, the aircraft touched down to be greeted by various members of the team that had flown on ahead.

This marked the official start of the launch campaign, and the first task for the team was to unload the spacecraft container from the plane, ready for the 50 km journey to the European Spaceport at Kourou.

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On Arrival at Spaceport SMART-1 is given a thorough examinationAccess the image

In the S5 building of CSG, SMART-1 is now completing its final preparation. An initial inspection was carried out, including important checks to ensure the sensitive solar panels had not been damaged by humidity. SMART-1 was found to be in perfect condition.

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Spacecraft interfaces are checkedAccess the image

A fit check was conducted with the launcher adapter as a verification test for all interfaces.

The final electrical verification phase has now started. The next step is hydrazine loading on Monday 28 July.

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