Encapsulating ExoMars

March 4, 2016
Protective covers are being removed from the thrusters on the Trace Gas Orbiter, before the spacecraft is encapsulated within the launcher fairing. Credit: ESA - B. Bethge

With less than two weeks until the launch of ExoMars 2016, preparations are proceeding well and the spacecraft composite has now been encapsulated within the launcher fairing at the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

Earlier this week the spacecraft composite, comprised of the Trace Gas Orbiter and Schiaparelli, was mated with the launch vehicle adapter and installed on top of the Breeze upper stage. Yesterday, 2 March, the Breeze upper stage and spacecraft were encapsulated together within the two fairing halves.

Prior to the encapsulation, they were tilted horizontally and the first fairing half was rolled underneath the and Breeze, on a track inside the cleanroom. The second fairing half was then lowered into place by means of an overhead crane, encapsulating the .

The ExoMars 2016 spacecraft composite, comprised of the Trace Gas Orbiter and Schiaparelli, mated with the Breeze upper stage on the conical launch vehicle adapter, seen moments before being tilted into the horizontal position in preparation of encapsulation within the launcher fairing. Credit: ESA - B. Bethge

The ExoMars 2016 spacecraft composite, comprised of the Trace Gas Orbiter and Schiaparelli, mated with the Breeze upper stage on the conical launch vehicle adapter, are tilted together into the horizontal position in preparation of encapsulation within the launcher fairing. Credit: ESA - B. Bethge
The ExoMars 2016 spacecraft composite, comprised of the Trace Gas Orbiter and Schiaparelli, mated with the Breeze upper stage on the launch vehicle adapter, ready for encapsulation within the launcher fairing. Credit: ESA - B. Bethge
The ExoMars 2016 spacecraft composite, comprised of the Trace Gas Orbiter and Schiaparelli, seen during the encapsulation within the launcher fairing. The conical shape to the left is the launch vehicle adapter, through which the spacecraft is attached to the Breeze upper stage. The first half of the fairing has already been rolled into place underneath the spacecraft assembly, and the second fairing half is being manoeuvred into place by means of an overhead crane. Credit: ESA - B. Bethge
The ExoMars 2016 spacecraft composite, comprised of the Trace Gas Orbiter and Schiaparelli, seen during the final stages of encapsulation within the launcher fairing. The first half of the fairing had already been rolled into place underneath the spacecraft, and the second fairing half is being lowered into place by means of an overhead crane. Credit: ESA - B. Bethge

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