29 Jul 2003
(Source: European Space Agency)
SMART-1 is prepared for its August 28 liftoff on Arianespace
Europe's SMART-1 lunar probe is well advanced in its preparation for launch on Flight 162, which has been confirmed for liftoff on August 28. The mission will use an Ariane 5 Generic vehicle to loft SMART-1, India's INSAT-3E and e-BIRD for Europe's Eutelsat.
Technicians check one of the two deployable solar arrays installed on SMART-1. The solar arrays will generate approximately 1,850 Watts of power during the lunar probe's operations. Built by the Swedish Space Corporation, the compact SMART-1 spacecraft is the first of the European Space Agency's Small Missions for Advanced Research and Technology (SMART).
SMART-1 is around a 157 x 115 x 104 cm. aluminum structure. With a launch mass of under 350 kg., the probe is designed to perform lunar observations during at least six months. If the onboard resources permit, an escape from the lunar orbit will be attempted. SMART-1's main mission is to demonstrate innovative and key technologies for scientific deep-space missions, including the use of an electric primary propulsion system called the Stationary Plasma Hall-effect thruster.
Arianespace team members conduct a test of the fueling loop in preparation for loading hydrazine propellant into the spacecraft. SMART-1's attitude control system attitude and orbit control system uses eight hydrazine thrusters. After its launch by Ariane 5, SMART-1 will be placed in a polar lunar orbit between 300 km. and 10,000 km. in altitude.
SMART-1 was lowered onto its cone-shaped adapter that will serve as the interface with the Ariane 5 launch vehicle. This action photo clearly shows the adapter's four springs, which will be compressed under the weight of SMART-1. During the mission, these springs will provide the separation "push" for SMART-1 when the satellite is released from Ariane 5.