A quick update this morning with highlights of ATV-5's current status, as reported on Friday by ESA's Jean-Michel Bois at ATV-CC. And this post gives us an excellent opportunity to wish everyone at SpaceUp Toulouse a fabulous weekend and we hope you learn, share and enjoy!
SpaceUp Toulouse 20-21 Sep 2014 Credit: SpaceUP/Fabrice D
Successful O2 transfers (12 & 18 Sep), ISS reboost (14 Sep) and first checks for fuel transfer (to follow)
ATV-5 attached to the Station at night. Credits: ESA/NASA
Busy times for ATV-5 delivering fuel and oxygen to the International Space Station. Another update from ATV Control Centre (ATV-CC) courtesy of Marcus de Deus Silva:
As well as the successful Refuelling System Leak Check reported yesterday, ATV-5 also finished its third oxygen transfer. Unlike refuelling, the Space Station crew is involved, so earlier yesterday morning Alexander Gerst opened the valves in ATV-5 to start the flow of oxygen from its gas tanks. Over the next six and a half hours ATV slowly released about 17 kg of oxygen into the Station's atmosphere, carefully monitored by specialists in ATV-CC Toulouse, France and Mission Control in Houston, USA. At the end of the transfer Alexander reported that he was very refreshed by this European oxygen!
Not that anyone expected there to be any leaks but it is always best to be sure! ATV Control Centre update on the ATV-5 refuelling operations from Marcus de Deus Silva:
The ATV-5 Refuelling System Leak Check just took place and was completely successful. This operation was the second part of ATV's refuelling sequence. The main part of the leak check consisted of injecting helium gas into the pipes used to transfer liquid propellant from ATV-5 to the International Space Station's Russian Service Module. Once the pipes were pressurised, the valves were commanded to close to isolate the system.
Experts at ATV's Control Centre in Toulouse, France, then monitored the pressure and temperature in the pressurised lines for about 4 hours. No leak was detected so the ATV refuelling system is now ready for its next step which is tank pressurisation. This will take place next week on Tuesday 23rd September.
An update from ATV-CC's Marcus de Deus Silva: ATV-5's Refuelling System RECS (Russian Equipment Control System) checkout took place yesterday and was completely successful. This operation was the first part of the ATV refuelling sequence that transfers fuel and oxidiser from ATV to the International Space Station. The checkout operation involved ATV Control Centre (ATV-CC) in Toulouse sending commands to turn on the docking and refuelling system electronics on ATV. Once engineers in ATV-CC checked that the system was healthy, the Russian segment of the Space Station sent commands to ATV to activate its Refuelling Mode.
Further checks of telemetry were made to confirm that the ATV refuelling system is ready for the next step which is the refuelling system leak-check, that will take place Thursday 18 September.
Update received this morning from ESA Mission Director Eric Conquet at ATV-CC, Toulouse.
Live from ATV-CC at 02:12 GMT (04:12 Toulouse time) here is the latest report on ATV operations.
ATV continues its mission in a very good shape and continues operating nominally. This was again shown tonight with the perfect execution of second ISS reboost of the ATV-5 mission. This manoeuvre was performed using ATV's Nos. 1 and 3 main thrusters (OCS thrusters), which were ignited at 02:08:00 GMT for 224 seconds to increase the ISS speed by 0.55 m/s with a propellant consumption of 74 kg.
Next scheduled operation will be the first refuelling sequence set for Tuesday, 16 September.
The Russian Service Module and ATV-5 seen looking aft from the ISS as the Station is oriented in a pitch-up attitude for Soyuz TMA-12M undocking. Credit: ESA/NASA
ATV-5 during Soyuz TMA-12M departure. Credits: ESA/NASA
Yesterday three International Space Station astronauts left their home to return to Earth in their Soyuz TMA-12M spacecraft. Steven Swanson, Oleg Artemyev and Alexander Skvortsov landed safely back on Earth at 4:23 CEST this morning.
When ATV-5 is docked with the International Space Station it provides propulsive support to help keep the Station flying as needed.
During undocking of the Soyuz TMA-12M, ATV-5 shut off its thrusters to allow the Space Station to enter free drift so the two spacecrafts do not interfere with each other. So, when ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst took the picture above, ATV-5 was in an uncharacteristically dormant mode.
After the Soyuz spacecraft had departed and was at a safe distance ATV-5 propulsive support was naturally turned back on. Until the next Soyuz arrives in two weeks the Space Station will have just three astronauts to run the outpost. All part of the routine...
ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst let out the first of batch of oxygen from ATV-5’s storage tanks into the International Space Station’s atmosphere on 4 September. Around 20 kg of the 66.7 kg of oxygen ATV-5 ferried to the Station was released, increasing the Station’s atmosphere pressure by 13 mmHG (0.015 bar).
Although the Space Station recycles are large amount of its life support such as oxygen and water, regular supplies from Earth are required.
Steve, Alexander Skvortsov and Oleg check their spacecraft for their flight home. Credits: ESA/NASA
Alexander Gerst has also overseen a large part of unloading the dry cargo, transferring 1105 kg or around 41% off all the items that ATV-5 has in its cargo hold.
A transfer of fuel to the Space Station is planned for 24 September but first the Soyuz spacecraft with NASA commander Steve Swanson and cosmonauts Alexander Skvortsov and Oleg Artemyev will leave the Space Station, during which ATV-5 will not offer propulsive support.
This time-lapse video shows the ATV-5 Georges Lemaître loading process and its integration on the Ariane 5 launcher before it was transferred and launched to the International Space Station from Europe's Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana on 29 July 2014.
The fifth in the series of the largest spacecraft ever built in Europe is also the heaviest load an Ariane 5 has ever launched. ATV-5 carried almost 6.6 tonnes of supplies to the orbital outpost, including a record amount of dry cargo: around 2682 kg.
Georges Lemaître delivered experiments, equipment, spare parts, water, air and even artwork to the six astronauts living in space.
ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst has been responsible for docking and unloading the cargo since ATV's arrival at its destination on 12 August 2014.
Credit: Directed by Stephane Corvaja, ESA and Manuel Pedoussaut, Zetapress Edited by Manuel Pedoussaut, Zetapress Music: Hubrid-Space
An update sent in late today by Colleen Boggs, ATV Cargo Operations Engineer at ATV-CC.
The crew did a different kind of cargo transfer today by removing hardware related to the Laser Infra-Red Imaging Sensors (LIRIS) rendezvous experiment. This experiment was used for the first time on ATV-5 during rendezvous and docking. The LIRIS hardware stores raw data from rendezvous which will be analysed after return to ground.
This new experiment hardware includes the Lidar recorder, camera recorder, and camera power control unit, which are installed in one of the rack sectors typically used for dry cargo bags.
We created new crew procedures that involved reaching in with one hand between two rack shelves to disconnect cables and remove screws... sometimes where the crew cannot easily see!
So lots of pictures were incorporated into the procedures to help orient Alex Gerst, in addition to his on-ground training (done earlier) at EAC in Cologne. With the hardware removed, Alex taped up the loose cables left behind and put the items into bubble wrap bags for their return back to Earth. We will have two pieces of removed hardware full of data going down on the next Soyuz (38S) and one piece with SpaceX for ground teams to analyse.
We're looking forward to seeing pictures from the activity!