No rest for the teams!
A quick update from Jean-Michel Bois at ATV-CC, where many members of the ESA/CNES mission control team enjoyed only a short weekend as ATV-4 came to a successful conclusion. I had mailed to ask him if the next round of simulation training would start already. He replied:
No simulations yet (first in January)!
Beforehand, we need to archive the ATV-4 data... then clean the computers and hard disks. Afterwards, there's implementation of a few changes in the hardware configuration (network, redundancies, etc.). At the end of the month, we've got installation of the ATV-CC ATV5 version software (adapted databases, a few software corrections and upgrades, etc.). December is dedicated to checking and validating this new environment. The goal is to be ready for a major ATV operations milestone, the SRKP (Simulation Readiness Key Point), which is now planned for 9 January. This provides the 'Go' to start the simulation and training campaign.
Jean-Michel Bois at ATV-CC
Immediately after, we'll have two major simulations – for the rendezvous (RDV) and the launch/LEOP phase. The first trilateral coordinated training (ESA-NASA-RSCE + ground networks) – called the 'JIS' for Joint Integrated Simulation – is scheduled on 22 January.
As you can see, actually, the schedule is very tight and each day is important. No vacation for the teams!
Goodbye Einstein: undocking replay
The Expedition 37 crew on board the ISS said goodbye to ATV Albert Einstein on 28 October 2013, with separation taking place at 09:55 CET.
The ATV-4 undocking was controlled by the joint ESA/CNES mission operations team at the ATV Control Centre, Toulouse, France. A controlled, destructive re-entry is planned for 2 November.
Video courtesy NASA
ATV team watching undocking
A number of people from the ATV team who were not at the ATV Control Centre in Toulouse watched the undocking at the Erasmus centre in ESA's technical heart in the Netherlands.
ATV hatch closing complete
This in from Mike Steinkopf at ATV-CC on the completion of today's hatch-closing activities.
The depressurization and the leak check were successfully performed this evening and further operations will be performed during the week-end in order to be ready for ATV-4 undocking, Monday, 28 Oct.
ATV-4 hatch closed
Update from ATV-CC Toulouse: Hatch of ATV-4 closed as of 16:05 CEST. The matching ISS hatch was closed 16:19 CEST; crew now conducting vestibule depressurisation followed by leak check.
Once all this is done, ATV is ready for undocking!
Another reason why building a Death Star with ATV might not work
... Galatic Stormtroopers messing around with the ATV docking control panel!
And this is on top of the incredible length of time it would take to use ATV to actually build a Death Star!
Quieter than expected: ATV-5 acoustic testing
A great update sent in yesterday by ESA's Richard Chase, working in Bremen at Astrium's ATV integration hall on Monday this week. He and several colleagues wore conducting acoustic testing inside the Integrated Cargo Carrier (ICC) half of ATV-5.
Sound level measurements were performed by David Welsh on behalf of NASA. Credit: ESA/R. Chase
On the evening of 2 September, measurements were taken inside the ATV-5 ICC of the noise generated by the fan that provides air circulation. Such a test is performed on each ATV by an acoustics expert from NASA to ensure that the background noise level will be acceptable on orbit.
First, a temporary closure is installed at the aft end to isolate the ICC from the environment of the integration hall.
A temporary closure is installed at the aft end to isolate the ATV ICC (Integrated Cargo Carrier) from the environment of the integration hall. Credit: ESA/R. Chase
Then sound level measurements are taken at several locations inside the ICC.
The results showed that the ATV-5 fan is performing similarly to the other ATV fans and might even be a bit quieter than the one now operating inside ATV-4.
The sound level measurements were performed by David Welsh on behalf of NASA with support from Jean-Pierre Arlabosse (Astrium), Daniel Paris and Richard Chase (ESA).
L-R: R. Chase (ESA), J-P. Arlabosse (EADS/Astrium) and D. Welsh (NASA) Credit: ESA
Today’s system validation test complete
ATV-5 seen during integration at Astrium, Bremen, 8 August 2013 Credit: Astrium//Ingo Wagner
First, a summary of today's successful System Validation Test (SVT), as provided by ESA's Marcus De Deus Silva, the engineer at ATV-CC responsible for coordinating the test (read our earlier intro post, "Ground-to-space-to-ground: Live connection test for ATV-5 today," below).
The ATV-5 SVT-1 has just been successfully completed. I would like to thank everyone involved for contributing to this successful and smooth-running test! Also of note is that this is the final ATV SVT to be carried out from Bremen.
The test achievements include:
- The test was successfully run in parallel with ongoing operations of the ATV-4 mission in flight
- We confirmed reception and processing at ATV-CC of telemetry (up to 64 kbps) from ATV-5 through both TDRS channels
- Confirmed telemetry at 8 kbps via ESA's Artemis relay satellite
- Confirmed the sending of telecommands to ATV-5 via both NASA TDRS and ESA Artemis
- Successful testing of the ATV-5 safety communication links including the sending of 'Red Button' Collision Avoidance Manoeuvre (CAM) telecommands from ATV-CC
Earlier, I spoke with Marcus, who answered questions on how the SVT was set up, how it was executed and why it's important.
ATV hatch open
Update this morning from ESA's Mike Steinkopf at ATV-CC.
The ATV-ISS pressure equalization has been performed and crew just reported that the ATV hatch is open!
Crew will now carry out the 'Initial Ingress' procedure, which consist out of crew taking air samples of the ATV air for later air quality analysis on ground.
ATV Hatch - seen in the ATV mockup at ESA's EAC, Cologne
Then Crew will install the Scrubber Device (an electrical powered Airfiltering Device) in the Aft Cone (opposite to the ATV hatch) to further clean the ATV internal air volume for a duration of about 4hrs:40mins. In addition, a so-called Scrubber Curtain will be installed close to the ATV hatch inside ATV.
For the duration of the air scrubbing, the Hatch will be closed again (but not latched). After the scrubbing duration the Scrubber will be switched off. The 'Final Ingress' process (scrubber removal, etc.), full hatch opening and access to the ATV payload is scheduled for later today; then ATV is fully accessible and the Cargo Transfer Operation can start.
-- Mike Steinkopf
Delighted teams at ATV-CC
Kris Capelle, left, was lead Mission Director for today's hugely successful arrival at the ISS. Jean-Michel Bois, right, is head of the ESA operations team at ATV-CC. Congratulations from all of us on the ATV blog to the (very) hard-working men and women of ESA, CNES and Astrium for a job well done!
ESA's Kris Capelle and Jean-Michel Bois at ATV-CC after ATV-4 Docking 15 June 2013 Credit: ESA