Today, the first deployment stage of the Aquarius 2.5m x 3.0m parabolic antenna reflector was completed at 14:35 UT. The separation hardware released the reflector portion from its previously stowed position (since before launch). The deployment took place over the Arctic with coverage from Svalbard and Alaska tracking stations.
shows the satellite's roll angle change about 0.5 degree during the deployment. This small roll was expected as the satellite responded with the change in angular momentum while the reflector was in motion. Telemetry from the contact switches verified that the reflector was then successfully latched.
This was a critical step. Tomorrow, 17 August, a similar procedure will release the boom restraint and allow the boom and reflector combination to rotate and latch into the proper alignment. We expect to see a larger roll response to this maneuver.
When the antenna is fully deployed, we will begin the final steps prior to powering-on the sensors. The remainder of the week will include turning-on the thermal control system and uploading software patches. We plan to turn on the radiometers on Sunday, 20 August.