Relive ATV docking – from inside the Space Station

This 3-minute video shows excerpts of how ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst and Roscosmos cosmonaut Sasha Skvortsov monitored the docking of ATV Georges Lemaître with the International Space Station on August 12.

An ATV docking is a mix of high-tech and low-tech. Lasers on ATV Georges Lemaître give extremely accurate distance readings but these readings are double-checked by Alexander and Sasha using a simple ruler placed over the monitoring screen.

Speaking in Russian, you should hear the astronauts say “Системы в норме” and “Мишень внорме” meaning “all systems are nominal” and “target is nominal” (this editor's Russian is admittedly not spaceflight-worthy).

After docking the two largest spacecraft around, Alexander has time to record a quick soundbite before a well-deserved congratulatory hug with Sasha.

Posted in ATV-5, Docking, ISS, Video | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

ATV-5 pushes Station to fly sideways for today’s spacewalk

Impression of Station flying in XVV normal attitude, seen from ATV or moving away from the viewer.

Impression of Station flying in XVV normal attitude, seen from ATV or moving away from the viewer.

Charlotte Beskow update on ATV-5's important task for today's spacewalk:

Today on the International Space Station Barry Wilmore and Reid Wiseman will change out a sequential shunt unit during a spacewalk (EVA28). NASA TV will show it a bit later, once it gets underway . It is extra nice for the ATV team since Barry Wilmore worked on the ATV project during its development phase a few years ago.

Normally the Space Station flies in what we call XVV where the velocity is along the X axis (ie the axis that runs right along the Station's body) from ATV-5 in the back to Node 2 in the front and with the truss with the massive Solar Arrays sticking out on both sides. For this spacewalk, the International Space Station will change to fly sideways, in a –YVV, ie the truss will be in line with the ground path. To v isualise it you can walk forward with arms outstretched, then turn 90 degrees to your right while still moving in the same direction so your left hand leads. ATV-5 make this attitude change happen and for that reason we all got up very early this morning as operations started around 5:00 GMT.

Continue reading

Posted in ATV-5, ATV-CC, ISS, Operations | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

ATV-5 seen from Earth

Astronomer-photographer extraordinaire Thierry Legault has featured before on this blog, but wanted to take images of the International Space Station with ATV Georges Lemaître visible. Taken from a Paris suburb in France, the results are outstanding. Click on  "read more" for more pictures and even a high-definition video of the Station passing the Sun in real time (it lasts 0.7 seconds).

Credits: Thierry Legault

Credits: Thierry Legault

Continue reading

Posted in ATV-5, Fun stuff, Images, Video | Tagged | Leave a comment

ATV-5 reboosts the Station

ATV-5 solar panels blocking ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst's sunlight. Credits: ESA/NASA

ATV-5 solar panels blocking ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst's sunlight. Credits: ESA/NASA

From Eric Conquet at ATV Control Centre:
Today the scheduled reboost has been successfully performed. Ignition of ATV thrusters #1 and #3 was commanded at 09:13 GMT by the Russian Service Module. A delta-v of 1.22 m/s was measured after the manoeuver, just as targeted when planning the manoeuver.
Good job ATV!!

Posted in Operations | Leave a comment

Fabulous shadow view of our favourite cargo vessel

Posted last night by ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst!

Posted in Astronauts, ATV-5, Fun stuff, Images | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Real-time life on board the ISS

Earlier today, teams at ATV-CC were notified that a piece of debris was suspected of being on track to pass (too) close to the ISS, and that a debris avoidance manoeuvre (DAM) powered by ATV-5 might be required.

ATV fires its engines for reboosting ISS to a higher orbit. Credit: ESA

ATV fires its engines for reboosting ISS to a higher orbit. Credit: ESA

ESA Mission Director Jean Michel Bois wrote earlier today:

There is a foreseen Debris Avoidance Manoeuvre (DAM) tonight, to be confirmed later. The suspected conjunction is with object 38971 (Breeze-M debris). It is a small object that is difficult to track; it is also in an elliptical orbit. The conjunction is foreseen for 4 Oct around 03:50 GMT (05:50 CEST). A manoeuvre using the ATV thrusters is in preparation, for activation around 01:30 GMT (03:30 CEST). The delta velocity foreseen is 1m/sec.

Note that, if it would have been performed, the DAM burn would have made the planned ISS reboost on 8 October redundant.

Well, in the end, additional characterisation of the debris object's orbit indicated that no DAM would be necessary. Again, Jean-Michel Bois wrote:

We have just been informed by NASA that the DAM is cancelled – there is no more risk to the ISS. Note that this type of situation happens rather frequently. But it's always safety first: it's better to be prepared to react (with a DAM burn planned and ready to go) and then have to cancel when the risk has disappeared, than the opposite and not be ready...

That's real-time life on board the ISS!

For more information on ATV-powered DAMs, read some of our past blog posts.

 

Posted in ATV team, ATV-5, ATV-CC, Flight dynamics, ISS, Mission reports, News and updates, Operations | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Final refuelling team(s)

The joint ESA/CNES team at ATV-CC poses for the camera to mark the final refuelling of the ISS by an ATV...

A happy ESA/CNES team mugs for the camera on the day that the final ATV refuels the ISS for the last time. Credit: ESA

A happy ESA/CNES team mugs for the camera at ATV-CC on the day that the final ATV refuels the ISS for the last time. Credit: ESA

... and here are the colleagues from ESA and RSC Energia in Moscow also working to support the last gas up; well done to everyone for a smooth, last fuelling!

ESA/RSC Energia team at Tsup Moscow for the final refuelling of the ISS by an ATV. Credit: ESA

ESA/RSC Energia team at Tsup Moscow for the final refuelling of the ISS by an ATV. Credit: ESA

Posted in ATV team, ATV-5, ATV-CC, Cargo, Images, ISS, Operations | Tagged | Leave a comment

Purging the pipes

ATV-5 approaching Station in August. Credits: Roscosmos-O. Artemyev

ATV-5 approaching Station in August. Credits: Roscosmos-O. Artemyev

Another update from ATV Control Centre on ATV-5's last fueling operations in space: Fuel purging took place Wednesday morning. The reason we need to do this is to prevent propellant liquid escaping when ATV Georges Lemaître undocks from the International Space Station at the end of its mission. The purging operation safely emptied the propellant liquid remaining in the lines between ATV-5's tanks and the Space Station, including the connectors in ATV's docking ring, into the vacuum of space. This followed on from yesterday's refuelling propellant transfer activity.

Today we opened the oxidiser propellant line vent valves for a second time to expel any residual gas and liquid remaining after yesterday's purging thus concluding ATV-5 refuelling operations. The final operation was "Second Vacuuming" which finished at lunch time. During this operation the venting valves of the refuelling oxidiser transfer lines were opened for about 90 minutes. This expelled a small amount of residual gas and liquid in these lines which remained after yesterday's purging activity. The valves have now been closed and propellant transfer lines are now completely empty meaning that it is safe for ATV to undock from the space station.

Posted in ATV-5 | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

ATV-5 update: more fuel and oxygen for Space Station

ATV Control Centre. Credits: CNES

ATV Control Centre. Credits: CNES

Straight from ATV Control Centre in Toulouse, France:

ATV-5 refuelling operations continue this week. Monday, the tanks containing fuel and oxidiser liquid (the propellants) were pressurised by injecting high pressure helium gas into them. On Tuesday the main refuelling event took place, this is the transfer of the fuel and oxidiser liquids from ATV's tanks into tanks in the Russian FGB Space Station module. To do this the high pressure helium gas lines were reconnected to the tanks in ATV. Then the valves connecting the ATV tanks to the Space Station were opened allowing the propellants to flow through into the Station's tanks. The time taken for the full amount of more than 800 kg of propellants to transfer was about half an hour. The valves are now closed but a small team of experts remain in ATV-CC overnight to keep a careful eye on pressures and temperatures in the propellant lines which are full of liquid. On Wednesday refuelling operations continue with purging operations which will clear the propellant lines of the remaining liquid.

As well as the refuelling operations, on Monday ATV-5 carried out its final oxygen transfer. Early in the morning Alexander Gerst opened the valves in ATV Georges Lemaître cargo carrier to start the oxygen flow. As most of the oxygen had already been transferred, the valves were left opened for the whole day to make sure that the tanks were completely emptied; the estimated amount transferred was about 8 kg.

Posted in Operations | Comments Off

Question via Facebook, or how to calculate oxygen transfers

ATV-5. Credits: ESA/NASA

ATV-5. Credits: ESA/NASA

Over on ESA's fabulous Facebook page Ross Warren questioned the amount of oxygen that was transferred to the International Space Station in ATV Georges Lemaître's first oxygen transfer which was reported here:

Ross Warren asked: Are you sure it wasn't more than just 17 kg of oxygen? That seems low. Just curious....

Marcus De Deus Silva from the ATV Control Centre took the time to double-check and explain the numbers:

An interesting question and it is good that people are checking up on our work!

I did a plausibility check on the figures and they look OK. The mass of oxygen transferred corresponds well to a theoretical calculation. I have put the calculation steps below with typical values.

Continue reading

Posted in ATV-5, ATV-CC | Tagged , | Comments Off