Category Archives: ATV-3

Here be dragons

NASA astronaut Don Pettit posted a great animation of ATV-3 docking from back when he was on the International Space Station in 2012 during Expedition 30/31

[youtube prtpcRascuc]

ATV: The story of success

One of the coolest ATV videos we've seen so far! A fantastic, 2-min video promo clip for ATV-5 produced by our friends over at Astrium. Enjoy!

The last 5 seconds are really great! :-)

ATVs thru the years

A regular ATV-in-the-sky watcher, Ralf Vandebergh, has sent in an excellent collage of ATV-1, -3 and -4. Thank you, Ralf!

This is a surprise (to celebrate the 4th successful ATV docking?). Hope you want post it on the blog! However I totally missed the 2nd ATV due to constantly unfavourable circumstances...

ATVs thru the years

How ATV Albert Einstein is the heaviest ever

We got a quick confirmation from ESA's ATV-4 Mission Manager Alberto Novelli on how Albert Einstein – at 20 235kg – weighs in as the heaviest spacecraft ever lifted by Ariane – more so than any of the three previous ATVs. Alberto wrote:

It's important not to mix up the weight of cargo with the overall weight of the ATV.

Inside view taken 9 March; water pump is installed, hardmounted on a rack adapter plate Credit: ESA/C. Beskow

Inside view taken 9 March; water pump is installed, hardmounted on a rack adapter plate Credit: ESA/C. Beskow

In terms of cargo, we are slightly less than ATV-3 (on the order of 10kg) and definitely less than ATV-2. In terms of overall mass, we are heavier than any ATV and any satellite launched in Europe so far by about 200kg.

The reason is that we have a higher "tare" mass – including the cargo racks, adapter plates (e.g. to secure the Columbus water pump assembly during launch), etc. – this is included in the overall vehicle mass but it is not counted in the cargo mass that we actually transfer to the ISS.

Into space with ATV – Back to Earth with Dragon

L'apprenti sage DVD

L'apprenti sage DVD

Students send 'Message to Earth' into space via ESA's ATV and back home via the US Dragon capsule - scroll down for link to complete DVD in YT

We have a great little story to share with you today on the completion of an imaginative journey taken by a group of young people from the local community youth group (MJC) in Elbeuf, France, 120km north-west of Paris.

The nine students, aged 9-16, sent a DVD to the ISS on board ATV Eduardo Amaldi, which launched from Kourou, French Guiana, on board Ariane flight VA205 on 23 March 2012. The disc was stored, of course, on board Europe's Columbus science module.

Youth team from MJC Elbeuf

Youth team from MJC Elbeuf

The DVD contained a video, "L'Apprenti sage," produced by the students that spotlighted their vision of our future, how society should develop and their hopes and dreams; environmental issues and the future of our planet were main themes.


L'apprenti sage - Un message à la Terre. Teaser

The group was also invited by ESA and CNES, the French space agency, to visit Europe's Spaceport at Kourou to watch the ATV-3 launch in person during 9-13 March last year.

DVD packed in ATV CTB cargo bag

DVD packed in ATV CTB cargo bag

The launch was, unfortunately, delayed, but the students had an excellent tour of the Arianespace launch facilities as well as the surrounding tropical ecosystem in French Guiana.

The closing link in this tremendous space voyage was provided by SpaceX, when the well-travelled DVD was returned to Earth via the Dragon capsule's CRS-1 mission, 8-28 October 2012. The DVD was then shipped back to Europe via Bremen and returned to the young producers in Elbeuf.

L'Apprenti sage - packing bag

L'Apprenti sage - packing bag

"It's important for all of us who work in space to ensure that young people are given opportunities to develop their interest and passion toward careers in science, technology, engineering and math," says Jean-Michel Bois, Head of the ATV Operations Division at the ATV Control Centre in Toulouse.

"This is especially crucial with young people who may not otherwise be exposed to role models or experience inspirational events related to STEM. For youth, participating in a real space adventure can change lives."

The youth were presented with certificates to mark the tremendous voyage taken by their video DVD and to offer congratulations from the managers at ATV-CC and Col-CC.

Best wishes to everyone at MJC Elbeuf!

The full DVD is now available in YT!

Certificate presented to Elbeuf MJC and the DVD Team

Certificate presented to Elbeuf MJC and the DVD Team

More details (in French) via here and here.

 

Using astronaut Mike Fossum’s YouTube video to measure ATV acceleration

By Rhett Allain

The Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) doesn’t just bring supplies to the International Space Station. It can also be used for ISS reboosts. What is a reboost? In short, during a reboost, the ISS velocity is increased by a small amount to bring the space station up to a slightly higher orbit.

Why is this needed? Well, although the ISS is in space, there is still stuff up there (gas from the atmosphere) that exerts a small drag force on the Station, decreases its velocity. The reboost are there just to keep it where it needs to be.

This video shows the inside of the ISS during an ATV reboost, i.e. when the ATV's main thrusters were firing. Let’s see if we can estimate the ATV thrust based on the acceleration of astronauts inside the space station.


Rhett Allain

Rhett Allain

Editor's note: In addition to having a knack for science communication, Rhett Allain is Associate Professor of Physics at Southeastern Louisiana University. He writes regularly for Wired's Dot Physics blog and is a bit of a physics fanatic who spends more time than many pondering how daily life intersects with science. With the recently announced development of ATV in cooperation with NASA for Orion, we're delighted to feature a few posts from the far side of the Atlantic. Enjoy! – DGS


There are a couple of different ways you can measure the acceleration in NASA astronaut Mike Fossum's YouTube video, but I am going to use one of the astronauts themselves (we think this is the first scientific use of an astronaut's floating body as seen in a YT video to calculate ATV acceleration – Ed).

Basically, I will use a video analysis program (in this case, the free Tracker Video Analysis). With video analysis, you can get position and time data from each frame of a video. If the motion of the astronauts had been recorded from a side view, position vs. time would obviously be the best choice. As you can see in Mike's video above, however, Mike, astro Satoshi Furukawa and cosmonaut Sergy Volkov are moving away from the camera, so I will measure the angular size of a person.  

As things move farther away from a camera, they also appear steadily smaller. Here is a diagram that shows the relationship between angle, size and distance.

 

If you know the angle theta (θ) and the length of the object, you can find the distance (which I call r) with the formula:

r = L / θ

With this, I can mark a point on each side of one of the receding astronauts as he accelerates away from the camera. With some basic estimations for the angular view of the camera (and size of an astronaut), I get the following plot of distance from the camera for one of the astronauts.

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All quiet with ATV… Not!

ATV-3 - 3-7 December 2012: Post-Flight Review
ATV-4 - 18 April 2013: Launch (forecast) = L - 4.5 months...

Tuesday, 3 December 2012

It has been two months since I last provided some information. You’ll be forgiven for thinking that this silent period is due to a bit of post mission peace and quiet... nothing could be further from the truth!

Editor's note: The latest instalment in Deputy Mission Manager Charlotte Beskow's mission diary

ATV-4 in its container together with its temperature control unit. Credit: ESA/CNES/Arianespace/Optique Video du CSG

ATV-4 in its container together with its temperature control unit. Credit: ESA/CNES/Arianespace/Optique Video du CSG

ATV-3 undocking, initially set for 25 September, took place in two steps due to a mishap in the programming of the communications link (see Extra information on undocking postponement - Ed.). A minor error with no major consequence apart from the ATV rejecting commands sent to it; undocking had to be postponed to 28 September. In theory we could have undocked the following day (i.e. 26th - Ed.) but – like at any busy hub – other tasks were already planned and the replanning of resources (human as well as material) took a bit of time. One of the important things that had to be done was to notify shipping in the planned re-entry zone so that they could keep away (not that there is much traffic in that part of the South Pacific, but still...).

We ended up undocking on 28 September and re-entering on 3 October.  As usual, most of our work was done during the wee hours of the morning,  leading to a rather tired team turning up for the debriefing on Friday morning, 4 October. Also as usual, this was a drawn-out affair, punctuated by various calls of: "... can I go first because I have very little to report and my flight is leaving...".

ATV-3 was a very successful mission and the various team members again showed a remarkable ability to cope with whatever came their way.

With plenty of traffic to and from the ISS (Soyuz, Progress, Space-X, HTV), this lead to a lot of  'nominal' planning and replanning activities. In addition, we had a few anomalies with our vessel, both human errors and technical errors.  None of them were serious but still this made for a relentless pace of work for the entire duration of the six-month mission.

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ATV-3 Orbital Photo Contest winners

It was a tough haul to assess, grade and rank the excellent ATV Orbital Photo Contest images submitted from around the world (that's why we're a bit late announcing the winners).

All were great for one or more reasons, and on behalf of ESA's entire ATV team, we'd like to publicly thank Don Thomas, Yujiro Suzuki, Taichi Iwamoto, Meire Ruiz, Patrick Faucon and Marco Langbroek for their great work.

Without further ado, it's my pleasure to announce the top three winners!

1st place - Many ATVs seen in orbit - Don Thomas, UK

ATV-3 en route to the ISS: Space Moths - stacked montage. Credit/Copyright: Don Thomas - Used by permission

ATV-3 en route to the ISS: Space Moths - stacked montage. Credit/Copyright: Don Thomas - Used by permission

2nd place - ATV-3 seen against deep blue dawn sky - Yujiro Suzuki, JP

ATV-3 & ISS seen in orbit 2 October 2012 over Chiba, Japan. Credit/Copyright: Y. Suzuki

ATV-3 & ISS seen in orbit 2 October 2012 over Chiba, Japan. Credit/Copyright: Y. Suzuki

3rd place - Eddie seen from here - Marco Langbroek, NL 

ATV-3 seen in orbit above Leiden, NL, 30 Sep 2012, 06:47:22 CEST. Credit/Copyright: M. Langbroek. Used by permission

ATV-3 seen in orbit above Leiden, NL, 30 Sep 2012, 06:47:22 CEST. Credit/Copyright: M. Langbroek. Used by permission

Access the complete list of seven entries here.

We'll contact Don, Suzuki-san and Marco via email to arrange sending their prizes.

Top place wins a fabulous 1:125 ATV + ISS + Ariane model kit "Mission Jules Verne" produced the famous French model-making company Heller.

The kits were marketed starting in 2008 for the initial ATV-1 mission to the ISS. We've got just a few kits left over from our original stock and will be sending one out to Don in the UK.

Our 2nd & 3rd place winners will receive a selection of very cool ATV-branded items via post.

Thank you for following us here in the blog and for your continuing interest in Europe's ATV missions to the ISS.

ATV-3 mission milestones

Times in UTC
23/03/12 04:34 - ATV-3 liftoff
28/03/12 22:31 - ISS docking
31/03/12 22:54 - '0th' reboost (test)
05/04/12 20:06 - 1st reboost
25/04/12 13:13 - 2nd reboost
04/05/12 09:37 - 3rd reboost
26/05/12 01:10 - 4th reboost
20/06/12 14:55 - 5th reboost
18/07/12 07:16 - 6th reboost
15/08/12 16:00 - 7th reboost
22/08/12 09:45 - 8th reboost
14/09/12 05:05 - 9th reboost
28/09/2012 21:44 - ATV-3 undocking
03/10/2012 01:23 - ATV-3 final loss of signal

Space moths: Many ATVs seen in orbit

Arguably one of the most interesting images of ATV we've ever received! Here is the final submission in the fabulous ATV Orbital Photo Contest, sent in by Don Thomas, Surrey, UK.

ATV-3 en route to the ISS: Space Moths - stacked montage. Credit/Copyright: Don Thomas - Used by permission

ATV-3 en route to the ISS: Space Moths - stacked montage. Credit/Copyright: Don Thomas - Used by permission

Don wrote:

I was really interested when I read that there was going to be an imaging contest as I have been fascinated by the fact that men and women are actually living in space and orbiting around our planet. I still can't really believe it. I was fortunate enough to get some pictures of ATV-3 on its way to the ISS and the image is a stacked montage of these pictures, which I would like to enter in the contest. These were all taken with a DMK21 camera and a hand-guided C9.25 telescope. The caption I would give this picture is 'Space Moths' – I’m sure you can see why I think that is very appropriate. Good luck with ATV-4 – I’ll have my camera ready again!
 
Regards
-- Don Thomas