14/05/2014 10:29 am
ESA-Anneke Le Floc'h
Here’s how a satellite makes an exit: one of Europe’s latest Galileos snapped at the point of departing ESA’s test centre in the Netherlands.
The departure took place on 5 May. After several months of testing, this latest full-capability Galileo navigation satellite left along with its twin.
Both satellites were loaded aboard trucks to be driven to Frankfurt Airport in Germany. From there, they were flown to Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana the following evening.
ESA’s centre is the largest satellite testing facility in Europe, with everything needed to recreate every aspect of the launch and space environment under one air-conditioned roof.
So, before leaving this carefully controlled environment, the satellites were both placed inside their own specially designed containers, maintaining their temperature, humidity and air cleanliness within rigid limits.
The two satellites will be launched together by a Soyuz later this summer.
Galileo satellites will continue to be tested here for flight before proceeding to South America – another had already arrived here in late April, with another due soon.
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