Gaia sunshield structure mounted

MEP DSA sur GAIA S1B_002

More progress has been made in cleanroom S1B at the ESA/Arianespace spaceport in Kourou. All four quarter elements of the sunshield (Deployable Sunshield Assembly – DSA) have been mounted at the main satellite structure. The sunshield structure is already partially equipped with Multi-Layer Insulation (MLI) as you can see in the image above (taken from the updated CNES photo series about the Gaia launch processing at http://www.flickr.com/photos/pkpro/sets/72157635259431456/with/9608325878/). Currently more MLI and some solar arrays are being mounted. Every single step will be checked several times to ensure everything is perfectly installed. The installation is on track for the deployment test of the sunshield planned for October 12.
Note that the entire mounting process of the sunshield is supported by a group of engineers from the Spanish SENER company (wearing light blue suits). SENER is the company responsible for building of the Gaia sunshield. The shield is one of the mayor hardware contributions of Spain to the Gaia project.

Update: ESA is also running a story about the sunshield of Gaia in the launch blog. Some interesting facts can be found here:  http://blogs.esa.int/gaia/2013/10/01/hiding-from-the-sun/

And here we have the Arianespace story about it:  http://www.arianespace.com/news-mission-update/2013/1098.asp

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