15 Aug 2002
(Source: Institute of Space and Astronautical Science)
The fuselage of the MUSES-C engineering spacecraft that was temporarily away from the Sagamihara Campus for rigging a chemical propulsion engine returned to Sagamihara at the end of April and started the second half of its overall testing. A preliminary meeting was held on April 26 where everyone involved participated to discuss testing arrangements. As it is a planetary explorer, its launch window is restricted, which allows almost no leeway in the schedule for unexpected delays. During the public holiday after the meeting, therefore, the MUSES-C group could not take any days off. The intensified competition between instrumental adjustments and restricted timeframe also shows that the launch is approaching.
With an addition of a new clean room, there are now three spacecrafts placed side by side: SOLAR-B in the new clean room, and MUSES-C and ASTRO-F in the old clean room. Three satellites in a row is in fact a rare occurrence. From 9 to 9:30 in the morning, many people can be seen coming and going between A and C Buildings. It is only here at ISAS where you can hear people asking which morning meetings they are heading for. So many people are involved in so many mission projects offering support to each other. As rocket-related work has also started recently, we see many manufacturers coming in one after another.
There have been increasingly more visitors and reporters after the new fiscal year started. Although we are a little annoyed at the same old question, "Can you really do such an outrageous thing?", repeated so often, we welcome and are happy to see their interest in space.