Category Archives: ISS

All about the ISS, where ATV docks

All good missions must come to an end

This year, the ATV team has planned a special departure. After undocking at 09:00 GMT on 28 October, Albert Einstein will be instructed by the ATV Control Centre in Toulouse, France, to perform a series of delicate manoeuvres over the course of five days to position itself directly below the Station.

ATV Albert Einstein, Europe’s supply and support ferry, docked with the International Space Station on 15 June 2013, some ten days after its launch from Europe's Spaceport in French Guiana. Credit: ESA/NASA

ATV Albert Einstein, Europe’s supply and support ferry, docked with the International Space Station on 15 June 2013, some ten days after its launch from Europe's Spaceport in French Guiana. Credit: ESA/NASA

Controllers will start the reentry procedure around 1300 CET on 2 November when ATV-4 is 120 km below the Station – so astronauts will observe the craft from above as it disintegrates over the Pacific Ocean. This procedure will provide valuable information to calibrate future spacecraft reentries.

via ESA

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 ready for hatch closure – set for 16:10 CEST

This information was provided by ESA's Mike Steinkopf, Mission Director on console at ATV-CC for today's hatch closing.

ATV-4 is ready for today's hatch closure, which is planned at 16:10 CEST. Before hatch closure, the crew will remove various equipment – which will be used for the next ATV – such as the air exchange duct, fire extinguisher, gas masks and the handrails. Also, items such as the smoke detectors and the lamp housing assembly will be removed to be used as spares for other modules in ISS. The ATV and ISS hatch closure operation will start at about 15:25 CEST and finish at 18:10 CEST.

ATV Hatch - seen in the ATV mockup at ESA's EAC, Cologne

ATV Hatch - seen in the ATV mockup at ESA's EAC, Cologne

Mike adds:

This week, the crew performed the last trash-loading activities and the last liquid-waste transfer. After that, crew took about 50 photos of the trash-loading configuration inside ATV to be reviewed by ESA cargo specialists.

This is an important task to verify that all trash has been loaded according to the return cargo map and that all items are properly and safely installed within the racks and on the Adapter plates.

The correct loading of trash is necessary to ensure that ATV is within the MCI (Mass Centre of Inertia) requirements for undocking and re-entry. In case of any deviations in the trash loading configuration (compared to the return cargo map) occurs, the crew would need to perform some CoG (Centre of Gravity) corrections before hatch closure following ESA cargo specialists inputs relocating trash items.

After photo review and verification by our specialists, no CoG correction was  necessary. 

Mission report 24 October

The IMMT – the ISS Mission Management Team (IMMT), the coordinating body comprising all ISS partner agencies (ESA, NASA, JAXA, CSA, Roscosmos/RSC-E) – has given the 'go' for ATV-4 undocking, set for Monday 28 October. This marks the start of a series of steps that will prep the ESA cargo vessel for departure followed by a controlled destructive re-entry on 2 November. Egress and final hatch closure are set for Friday, 25 October, at 16:00 CEST.

ESA astronaut Luca Parmitano explains ATV while speaking to students at universities in Italy, Germany and Israel during an in-flight call 24 October 2013. Credit: ESA/NASA

ESA astronaut Luca Parmitano explains ATV while speaking to students at universities in Italy, Germany and Israel during an in-flight call 24 October 2013. Credit: ESA/NASA

Note as always: All dates/timings below are forecast only and are subject to change as this is a continuing, dynamic mission. Time below indicated in UTC. (more…)

Final station reboost complete

Update from ESA's Thomas Beck at ATV-CC on today's reboost, the last planned reboost of the ATV-4 mission.

At 13:03 CEST, ATV-4 used two of its main engines, OCS1 and OCS3, to lift the ISS into a higher orbit. After a burn of 256.6 secs, the velocity of the orbital complex was changed by 0.62 m/sec. The manoeuvre burned 86.0kg of propellant.

This was the last scheduled reboost of ATV-4, which is set to undock from the ISS on Monday, 28 October 2013.

ATV-4 set to lift the Station tomorrow

Details on tomorrow's planned reboost for the ISS – the final one in the ATV-4 mission – from ESA's Thomas Beck at ATV-CC.

The reboost on Thursday [24.10] is planned to generate a modest delta-V (change in speed) of about 0.6 m/sec and to use approximately 85 kg of fuel.

The corresponding small increase in ISS altitude should be on the order of a bit less than 2 kilometres. The back-up date for this reboost is Saturday, 26 October.

I will provide more up-to-date figures after reboost termination.

ATV-4 communications equipment ready for undocking

The Proximity Communications Equipment (PCE) was unpacked and set up in the Russian Service Module (SM) on 17 October by Expedition 37 Flight Engineer Oleg Kotov. The PCE transponder is linked to an external antenna on the SM and provides direct communication between ATV and the ISS. It's usually kept stowed as it's not needed when ATV is attached.

 

NASA TV to cover ATV-4 undocking

Now in the NASA TV schedule: Coverage of the 28 October undocking of ATV Albert Einstein, Automated Transfer Vehicle 4, from the ISS. Undocking scheduled at 9:59 CET. Programme runs 9:45-11:00 CET.

via NASATV

 

Preps for Cygnus departure marks start of high-traffic season on ISS

Meanwhile, Flight Engineer Oleg Kotov installed and connected a control panel to monitor the departure of the European Space Agency’s Automated Transfer Vehicle-4 (ATV-4), which is set to undock from the aft port of the Zvezda service module on Oct. 28 after more than four months at the station.  Like Cygnus, the ATV-4 will be de-orbited for a fiery demise over the Pacific Ocean.

Attached to the Harmony node, the first Cygnus commercial cargo spacecraft built by Orbital Sciences Corp., in the grasp of the Canadarm 2, is photographed by an Expedition 37 crew member on the International Space Station. Image Credit: NASA

Attached to the Harmony node, the first Cygnus commercial cargo spacecraft built by Orbital Sciences Corp., in the grasp of the Canadarm 2, is photographed by an Expedition 37 crew member on the International Space Station. Image Credit: NASA

The departure of ATV-4 will clear the way for Nyberg, Parmitano and Commander Fyodor Yurchikhin to relocate their Soyuz 35 from its docking port on the Rassvet module to the newly vacated Zvezda port on Nov. 1.

Full report via NASA

Mission report 11 October

Happening in space (and on Earth!) this week:

  • 15 October: Second run of undocking training
  • 17 October: Cargo transfer
  • 17 October: ATV Proximity Communications Equipment (PCE) installation on board ISS
  • 18 October: Cargo transfer
  • 19 October: PCE test between ISS and ESA ground stations

 And a super nice image of the ISS and ATV-4 seen from the ground in August, courtesy of Ralf Vandebergh!

ISS & ATV-4 seen in orbit 13 August 2013

Especially the Russian modules stand out well in this image -- but you can see how Europe's fourth Automated Transfer Vehicle, ATV Albert Einstein, causes a thick extension of the aft end of the station. It looks bigger, in any case more obvious then the Zvezda module, one of the main modules of the Russian side of the ISS. Credit: R. Vandebergh

 

Note as always: All dates/timings below are forecast only and are subject to change as this is a continuing, dynamic mission. Time below indicated in UTC.

 

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