ExoMars 2016 spacecraft encapsulated within launcher fairing
3 March 2016With 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 spacecraft 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 payload.
The Trace Gas Orbiter and Schiaparelli.
Credit: ESA - B. Bethge
|Removal of protective covers from the thrusters on the Trace Gas Orbiter, before encapsulation of the spacecraft within the fairing. Credit: ESA - B. Bethge|
|Tilting of the spacecraft assembly into a horizontal position. Credit: ESA - B. Bethge|
|Encapsulation of the spacecraft assembly within the fairing. Credit: ESA - B. Bethge|