3D virtual visits: inside and out of the International Space Station
First up - Outside!
This is pretty cool! And, in our humble opinion, ATV docking starting around the 2:40 point is the best part!
Get an idea of what it feels like to see the International Space Station from the outside, as an astronaut on a spacewalk. Put your 3D glasses on to appreciate the size of humankind's orbital laboratory and watch a Soyuz spacecraft undock and a docking with ESA's supply spacecraft Automated Transfer Vehicle.
Watch both full screen for best effect!
Next - inside!
This, too, is pretty cool. And the ATV bit comes at toward the end, at 4:40!
Put your 3D glasses on for this virtual visit of the International Space Station's modules. Float through the space laboratories and connecting modules from the perspective of an astronaut.
ATV-4 re-entry animation
Many thanks to Vladimir Jankijevic, in Zurich, who sent in a neat animation made by stitching together the re-entry images we posted yesterday.
ESA's fourth Automated Transfer Vehicle, Albert Einstein, burnt up on 2 November at 12:04 GMT over an uninhabited area of the Pacific Ocean. This Animation is made from the photos from the ESA Flickr set.
Re-entry video feed from ATV-CC ~12:30 CET start
Live video feed from ATV-CC, Toulouse, for today's re-entry (scroll down to see our periodic blog updates).
NOTE: This is a technical feed only, and audio may not always be present. We expect to start around 12:30 CET and run for about 75 mins. Live video from the ISS showing ATV-4 re-entry, if available, will start around 12:55 CET. Main re-entry 'streak' expected at 13:04 CET. Technical issues or operational exigencies may require postponement or cancellation.
Rendezvous with a phantom space station
I just chatted with ESA's ATV-4 Mission Manager Alberto Novelli and got an update on tomorrow's re-entry – specifically the plans to watch Albert Einstein re-enter live from the ISS.
The aim is to line up ATV-4 underneath the ISS to enable a bird's eye view for the Station cameras, which should deliver the first-ever video* of an ATV re-entry seen from space.
A cool video from our friends at CNES showing ATV undockign and re-entry: Désamarrage et rentrée atmosphérique de l'ATV-4 from CNES on Vimeo
Alberto says that since undocking on 28 October, the mission team at ATV-CC have been pacing ATV-4 through a series of manoeuvres that more or less mimic the manoeuvres used for rendezvous and docking with the actual ISS, which the vessel accomplished back in June.
ATV Rendezvous & Docking Profile - when docking to a non-phantom station!
He says, however, that tomorrow's 'rendezvous' is with a "virtual point in space approximately 100 km beneath the real ISS" (hence our tongue-in-cheek title for this post!), from which ATV-4 will be commanded to perform its two de-orbit burns.
Most of the manoeuvring to get to this virtual point at the right time (around noon tomorrow) has already been done; there remains just a pair of burns to be done this evening and then two overnight to do some fine tuning. If all goes well Albert Einstein will be perfectly lined up for its 'phantom' rendezvous tomorrow AM for a spectacular farewell.
ATV reentry competition
Update: deadline is set for when ATV-4 reenters our atmosphere Saturday ~noon GMT. For people who cannot see Gravity yet: guess! (Hint: it is not the answer most people are giving.)
The film Gravity features a short role for our very own ATV spacecraft. This is not the first time ATV has ‘starred’ in a Hollywood movie; the spacecraft’s acting career was launched by Transformers: Dark of the Moon. Of course ATV has also featured in many other videos including documentaries, educational videos, music videos (more music videos...) and newsclips.
Scene from Gravity. Credits: Warner Bros
So, while we wait for ATV Albert Einstein’s reentry this Saturday, another film-based competition is in order:
Which ATV appears in the film Gravity? Was it ATV-1, 2, 3, 4 or 5?
Enter your answer in the comments of this blog post including a short description of what you think the frog (seen at the end of the film) symbolises?
Naming the correct ATV spacecraft and supplying the best/funniest answer to the second question will earn you an official ATV rucksack. We have goodies for two runners up, too!
Editor’s note: This competition is unofficial and not coordinated with the producers of Gravity. We do not endorse this nor any other film, but it’s pretty darn entertaining! See the science behind Gravity.
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
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.
Mission manager Massimo Cislaghi: ATV-5 explained
ATV George LeMaître, ESA's fifth and last Automated Transfer Vehicle will leave for the International Space Station in 2014. Join mission manager Massimo Cislaghi as he gives an overview of its mission showing the hardware while it is still on Earth before shipment to Europe’s spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana.
Automated Transfer Vehicles are multi-function unmanned ferries sent into orbit by the European Ariane 5 launcher. Each spacecraft can deliver up to 7 tonnes of cargo to the International Space Station including supplies and equipment, water, air, nitrogen, oxygen and fuel.
Once attached, ATV refuels the Space Station and can also reboost it: ATV’s propulsion system is used to raise the Station to a higher orbit, counteracting the atmospheric drag that slowly causes the Space Station to lose attitude. ATV can even boost the Station to avoid collisions with space debris and provide attitude control.
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!
And here's the shaky hand-cam video clip! It shows the horizontal-laying ICC (Integrated Cargo Carrier) front half of the vessel – good shot of the docking mechanism – and then the walk around takes you to the back and shows a view of the vertical Service Module.