I often say that I don't pay much attention to space missions until they get shipped to their launch site. Well, it's time for me to sit up and pay attention to MAVEN. The Mars orbiter, which is scheduled to launch in November, arrived in Florida three weeks ago. The Kennedy Space Center does a terrific job of documenting every step of pre-launch preparations in photos through their website, the Kennedy Media Archive. Here are some great photos of MAVEN's arrival and processing.
First: Megalodon! No, wait, it's just a C-17 aircraft.
I wonder if the technicians at Kennedy feel like they're opening a Christmas present when they remove the shipping crates from spacecraft.
Like a matroyshka doll...
That processing stand that they attached it to can be pivoted 90 degrees, putting the top face in reach to attach the dish antenna:
Look on the back of that antenna and you can see the fancy shaped thermal blanketing they had to cover it with. Here's somebody taping that together. Yes, taping it.
The most recent photos, added to the gallery today, show them test-deploying the solar panels and inspecting their surfaces.
I wish I knew the name of the "technician" in this photo, but they never publish names or titles with the photos.
That's it so far. Keep watching the MAVEN gallery at the Kennedy Media Archive for more updates. I learned about the addition of those solar panel photos today via the NASA Launch Services Program Twitter feed.