Cooling Down

The instrument has continued cooling/ stabilising and late yesterday, 8th, one the temperature remained below the specified limits the SWIR was switched on and today it could be seen that the SWIR is working.

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SWIR

Now more time is required for the final temperature stabilisation when the experts will be really able to see the performance of the instrument and start processing products from the data.

We will keep you posted.

Cooler Opening

After the last manoeuvre to push the satellite to its final orbit the radiant cooler door was opened. This was a tense moment as without the cooler door opening there would be no mission. Thankfully everyone was relieved as the commands were sent and telemetry showed that the cooler door had opened. This is a major milestone for the project.

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Now starts an interesting phase as the team monitors the cooling down of the cooler/ instrument to its operational temperatures and verifying the operation on the radiant cooler and instrument which, although fully tested separately,  have never been operated together before.

End of Decontamination

Tomorrow, the 7th of November, the decontamination phase for the instrument will be over and the cooler door will be opened to allow the instrument detectors to cool down to their operating temperatures. Once stabilised over a few days we will be able to see the first real data from the instrument.

The opening will be by noon tomorrow so there is a challenge for any budding astronomers to get the first optical photograph of the satellite.

Day Fifty Eight

This is in some ways a sad entry as it  marks the end of the launch campaign but really it marks the end of an extraordinary launch campaign, launch, LEOP and start of commissioning.

For the last few of the launch campaign team the Antonov flew the last five and a half hour leg from Ulyanovsk to Stanstead. Bill found a new office on the plane

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Once back at Stanstead the cargo will be transported by road back to Airbus DS Stevenage and the team can have a well earned rest. For some of the team this is the end of  fifty eight days away from home.

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For the operations team the science data was downlinked and processed by the PDGS stations. This again was a great success.

This really has been an amazing week for all the team.

From here on the blog will not be daily but only updated with key activities of the commissioning phase.

 

Day Fifty Seven

Today operations continued  in ESOC with highly motivated support and control teams.

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They have continued to excel themselves by testing the rest of the instrument and demonstrating all was fine. The screen showing all green says it all.

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As this is now the end of LEOP and the first commissioning activities the team says goodbye to the last of the Airbus DS UK support.

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For the launcher team they went to the railway station in Arhangelsk to supervise the offloading of the containers from the train onto trucks and then to the airport to load the the containers onto the Antonov for their return flight to Stanstead airport.

The Antonov then flew to Ulyanovsk, still in Russia, for customs clearance and where the team stayed overnight. For the team this was a new experience staying by the Volga and another time zone.

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Day Fifty Six

Today is almost the end of the launch campaign as the final people leave the cosmodrome. Some go directly to Moscow whilst others go via Arhangelsk.

The Soyuz in the lake is being prepared for winter and the temperature is dropping. Snow is forecast, it is time to leave.

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Before leaving a few of the team visited the Priest and his wife to finalise arrangements for our support on the children home rework.

One thing we learnt was that our launch was blessed after fuelling prior to launch. Traditionally this is done at the launcher but due to the hazardous nature of the fuel this was performed in the church.

The final members of the launch team were then transported to Plasetskaya station where the S5p containers were there loaded waiting to leave.

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At ESOC it is a different story thing are progressing at an incredible speed.

The TROPOMI instrument computer, ICU, has been switched on and the Airbus DS NL team have confirmed that the mechanisms have not moved during the launch.

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The Ultra Violet detector modules, UV DEM’s, have been switched on and  data is being stored ready to be downlinked to the ground station on Friday. From telemetry all appears OK.

Now LEOP is over the team has been relocated from the MCR to room E31.

It is no wonder that this is on the displays all over ESOC.

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ESOC Display

Day Fifty Five

Again the two teams are busy.

In the MIK the loading of the train is finalised for tomorrows transport to Arhangelsk.

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On the Spacecraft In Orbit Verification, SIOV, at ESOC, activities were continued with some further X-Band data downlink checks and the execution of the first manoeuvre consisting of a sixty second burn in the in-flight direction. This was the first successful step in acquiring our final orbit.

Day Fifty Four

In Plesetsk the team visited the tower to retrieve the infamous purge cart and see what remains after S5p had left.

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In the MIK packing continues in readiness of loading the train tomorrow.

In ESOC with the LEOP phase over the team move into the commissioning phase which will last six months culminating in the in orbit commissioning review, IOCR, after which the satellite is handed over to ESRIN and becomes operational.

Today though the X-Band link, which relays all the scientific data, was used for the first time and worked perfectly.

Also today Sentinel-5p was added to the wall of fame by being added to the scoreboard.

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Other new general info.

Sentinel-5p is the first ESOC launch on the 13th especially Friday the 13th!

This is the 13th commercial launch of Eurocket.

And the 27th commercial Rocket launch

Must be our lucky number.

 

Day Fifty Three

This was a well earned day for rest for the launch team and the operations team.

In Plesetsk the team also had the chance to present to the church the items we had purchased for the children in the children home.

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Also from the generous donations made we will be able to pay for some urgently needed roof repairs.

They also treated us to some lovely ginger rockets they made.

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Day Fifty Two

For the team in Plesetsk today was a quieter day.

The team went to the MIK to continue packing and retrieving the equipment used during the launch from the under table room.

For the Operations team in ESOC it is quite a different story.

Starting with the highly motivated A-Team

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Followed closely by the A-Support Team

And here is an example of the displays giving a snapshot of the status of the satellite.

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Here we can see that it is cold in space. It is a snapshot of the temperatures of the TROPOMI Radiant Cooler (RC) door inside and outside. The door is in closed condition until November the 7th when it will be opened. The warm values are temperatures inside the instrument (which need to stay at about 37 degree Celsius until we open the door). The -61 and -64 degree temperatures are temperatures of the outside of the RC door.

And to really finish the day LEOP is over in record time!!

The satellite is ready to start the commissioning phase!

A great achievement by all the team.

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