The Last-but-one Trip

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Things have been quiet here for quite a while – probably too quiet for any of you reading this regularly! This is because we’ve had a punishing testing schedule to get Herschel and all its instruments ready  for launch on April 16, 2009.

But things are now changing, as Herschel has started its journey to orbit!

The first steps are always small ones – in this case into a crate and onto the back of a lorry for the trip from ESTEC in Noordwijk to Amsterdam airport and onto a giant Antonov transport plane.

Herschel in its crate being loaded onto the trasport plane

Herschel in its crate being loaded onto the trasport plane

The plane then flew to Cayenne airport in French Guiana and then transported to the launch centre at Kourou. This all happened in the middle of February and you can read more about it here.

Herschel is now going through a final battery of tests at the launch centre before it is joined by Planck and they are both integrated with the Arianne 5 launch vehicle ready for launch.

Herschel being tested at the launch centre.

Herschel being tested at the launch centre.

After the best part of a decade of preparation and development work, Herschel is finally happening – the next few months are going to be exciting and nail-biting for the Herschel team!

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