SMOS arrives safely at Russian launch site

September 18, 2009,
The Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity (SMOS) mission will make global observations of soil moisture over Earth’s landmasses and salinity over the oceans. Variations in soil moisture and ocean salinity are a consequence of the continuous exchange of water between the oceans, the atmosphere and the land - Earth’s water cycle. Credits: ESA - AOES Medialab

After leaving Thales Alenia Space in the south of France on 15 September, ESA’s SMOS Earth Explorer has arrived safely at the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in northern Russia, where it will be prepared for launch on 2 November.

The Antonov aircraft carrying the and Ocean Salinity (SMOS) satellite, along with seven containers of support equipment, arrived at Arkhangelsk early in the morning of 16 September. Once unloaded from the aircraft, the precious cargo was transported by truck to the train station and then loaded onto wagons for the 12-hour ride to the launch site.  

The train arrived at the yesterday morning and the containers have now all been placed in the integration facilities where they are being unpacked today. The long journey seems to have gone well, and the signs are that satellite and equipment have arrived in good shape.

The SMOS team will now spend the next six weeks testing the satellite and preparing for launch. SMOS will be encapsulated, along with ESA’s Proba-2 satellite, in the fairing of the Rockot launcher in preparation for liftoff at 02.50 CET on 2 November. 
 
The Proba-2 team have already carried out their initial preparations and will return to Plesetsk later this month to resume the campaign.

The arrival of SMOS at the launch site marks a significant milestone for ESA’s next Earth Explorer mission. Also known as ESA’s Water Mission, it is the first dedicated to providing global measurements of soil moisture and ocean salinity. By regularly and consistently mapping these two variables, the mission will improve our understanding of the .
 
ESA’s Project Manager for the SMOS mission, Achim Hahne, commented, “I am really excited that the end is getting close, and so is the team.”

Provided by European Space Agency (news : web)

Explore further: SMOS and Proba-2 launch rescheduled for November (w/Video)

Related Stories

SMOS and Proba-2 launch rescheduled for November (w/Video)

June 22, 2009

Following an agreement between ESA, Krunichev Space Centre and Eurockot Launch Services, ESA's next Earth Explorer mission SMOS and a secondary payload, the technology demonstrator Proba-2 satellite, will now launch on 2 ...

SMOS water mission on track for launch

February 12, 2009

Following word from Eurockot that launch of the Earth Explorer SMOS satellite can take place between July and October this year, ESA, CNES and the prime contractor Thales Alenia Space are now making detailed preparations ...

SMOS ready to ship to launch site

May 28, 2009

ESA's next Earth Explorer, SMOS, has just passed the all-important Flight Acceptance Review, signifying that all the elements that make up the mission are in place for launch later this year. The satellite can now be prepared ...

CryoSat arrives safely at launch site in Russia

September 2, 2005

After leaving the Space Test Centre in Germany on 29 August, CryoSat has safely arrived at the Plesetsk Cosmodrome, about 800 km north of Moscow, Russia. CryoSat is scheduled for launch on 8 October 2005 at 15h02 UTC.

Proba-2 satellite flies into its Russian launch site

September 7, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- Proba-2 has reached Plesetsk Cosmodrome in northern Russia, where it is being prepared for launch this November. Among the smallest satellites ever built by ESA, it was transported there aboard an Ilyushin ...

GOCE begins its journey to launch site

July 29, 2008

(PhysOrg.com) -- GOCE, the first of a series of Earth Explorer satellites to be launched into orbit, has taken off aboard an Antonov-124 cargo aircraft for its flight to the Arkhangelsk Airport in Russia, en route to Russia’s ...

Recommended for you

New research challenges existing models of black holes

January 19, 2018

Chris Packham, associate professor of physics and astronomy at The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA), has collaborated on a new study that expands the scientific community's understanding of black holes in our galaxy ...

Neutron-star merger yields new puzzle for astrophysicists

January 18, 2018

The afterglow from the distant neutron-star merger detected last August has continued to brighten - much to the surprise of astrophysicists studying the aftermath of the massive collision that took place about 138 million ...

New technique for finding life on Mars

January 18, 2018

Researchers demonstrate for the first time the potential of existing technology to directly detect and characterize life on Mars and other planets. The study, published in Frontiers in Microbiology, used miniaturized scientific ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.