Using its Orbit Correction System thrusters, ATV-3 performed a one-burn reboost of the ISS on 26 May at 02:10 CEST with a burn duration of 6 min, 17 sec. The burn achieved a 'delta-V' (change in orbital velocity) of 0.84 m/s (planned: 0.9 m/s), and increased the average Station altitude by 1.55 km (planned: 1.66 km).
Back in April, NASA astronaut Don Pettit, Expedition 30 flight engineer, captured this video of engines of the Automated Transfer Vehicle being fired to reboost the International Space Station. Credit: NASA
After the burn, the ISS was orbiting at 399.0 km average altitude, with 407.5 km apogee height and 390.6 km perigee height. The reboost was a slight underburn, providing about 7% less than expected delta-V and altitude gain.
This reboost -- together with the next one in June -- will set up orbit phasing for Soyuz 29S departure and landing, set for 1 July (the flight that will bring astronaut André Kuipers back home -- Ed.).
Video replay: ISS crew opens Dragon’s hatch
The ISS Expedition 31 crew opened the hatch to the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft today at 11.53 CEST (09:53 UT). Wearing protective masks and goggles, as is customary for the opening of a hatch to any newly arrived vehicle at the station, NASA astronaut Don Pettit entered the Dragon with Station Commander Oleg Kononenko.
Watch the replay:
Video replay: SpaceX Dragon captured
The SpaceX Dragon spacecraft was captured at 15:56 CEST (13:56 UT) today. Operating the Station's robotic arm, Canadarm2, NASA astronaut Don Pettit grappled the Dragon, commenting: “Looks like we got ourselves a Dragon by the tail!”.
After Dragon is berthed to the Harmony module's Earth-facing port the hatches will open Saturday morning and the crew will ingress to begin several days of docked operations.
Launched from Florida on Tuesday, the Dragon spacecraft is carrying food and supplies for the Station crew. Dragon is the first privately built spacecraft to visit the ISS.
Today, the key people in the ATV project are gathered for the first part of the ATV-3 Post Flight Review. The objective is to extract any changes that need to be implemented in ATV-4 (or with the ground systems) before the ship carrying Albert Einstein leaves for Kourou in August.
Of course, the ATV-3 mission remains ongoing and will continue throughout the summer.
All of us have our computers up and running and, thanks to modern technology, we are all keeping an eye on the upcoming Dragon launch. (Dragon's aloft! See below... Apologies for late posting - Ed.) This commercial vehicle is to be launched in a few minutes from now and will head to the ISS.
[Later] Presentations are underway when someone says "hey, why not put the launch on the main screen, we are all watching it anyway." Said and done -- and we watched as Falcon-9 lifted off from Florida, carrying Dragon on board.
All was quiet until separation (which just occurred). Congratulations to the launch team and now we must turn our attention back to ATV-3 PFR...
Dragon spacecraft launches to ISS
The SpaceX Dragon spacecraft launched from Florida at 09:44 CEST (07:44 UT) today. Carrying a cargo that includes food and supplies for the Station crew, it is the first time a privately built spacecraft heads to the ISS.
Dragon is scheduled to rendezvous with the ISS on Friday 25 May, when Expedition 31 crewmembers André Kuipers and Don Pettit will use the Station's robotic arm Canadarm2 to grapple the spacecraft and manoeuvre it into position to mate with the Harmony module’s Earth-facing docking port.
Shortly after midnight, at 6:36 CEST, a Russian Soyuz TMA-04M/30S docked successfully at the MRM2 Poisk module. The arrival doubles the station crew size to 6 persons and brings the total number of currently docked Russian visiting vehicles to 3:
Soyuz TMA-03M/29S (#703) @ MRM1 “Rassvet”
Soyuz TMA-04M/30S (#704) @ MRM2 “Poisk”
Progress M-15M/47P (#415) @ DC-1 nadir
This is the 123rd mission to the ISS and Russia's 80th (plus 1 failed). Since the first launch, of the FGB Zarya module on a Proton-K on 20 November 1998, there have also been a total of 37 US missions, 3 European missions (ATV-1, ATV-2, ATV-3) and 2 Japanese missions (HTV1, HTV2).
Good catch & grab from NASA TV by Twitter user @StarlingLX! She is also attending the AndreTweetup on 29 March at ESA/ESTEC. Thanks, Alex, for a great photo! NASA Flight Directors Katja Leuoth and Cise (@CarbonFlight) are seen in the photo.
ESA's ATV training team from the European Astronaut Centre take part in debriefings with astronauts upon return from missions involving the ATV. The first-hand information helps improve training and standards for future ATV-using astros.
Times in UTC
6/05 - ATV-4 moves to the BAF for final preparations
8/05 - ESA Operations Readiness Review
20/05 - Late-cargo loading
31/05 - Launch Readiness Review (planned)
5/06 Lift-off VA213 (planned) All dates subject to change