Team at ESA's 5.5m ESTRACK station SMA now cleaning up after successfully tracking Ariane 5 during two overhead passes this morning. The telemetry data were passed to Arianespace. Job well done!
SMA station at dawn, 23 March 2012 Credit: A. Majorosi
Update from Santa Maria station
Gerhard Billig at SMA has just reported:
During the second overhead pass of the upper stage and ATV here at Santa Maria station we again received signals with no trouble. After, they continued toward Australia, to be picked up by ESA's 15m Perth station. We will stay in here a bit more to store all the data and then -- after having had a long night for the countdown and launch -- we'll (try) to catch some sleep.
Santa Maria station tracks Ariane 5
Activity at ESA's 5.5m Santa Maria station, Azores, just prior to tracking the overhead pass of Ariane 5 VA205. SMA station picked up telemetry 12 minutes after lift off this morning. Video credit: A. Majorosi
Tracking Ariane 5 at ESA’s Santa Maria station
From Gerhard Billig, ESTRACK station engineer at SMA station this morning:
We just finished tracking the first pass of Ariane 5. Tension increased once we saw the liftoff and knew that in 12 minutes Ariane would be in our visibility. And it was! Acquisition of the signal took place at the expected pointing location and we got the telemetry signals from Ariane straight away! During the pass, the 5.5m antenna performed nicely and we could even see the launcher ourselves simply by looking up! We are now preparing for the 2nd overhead pass in about 1 hour.
… and from ESA’s Santa Maria station (Azores)
And this just came in from ESTRACK station engineer Gerhard Billig, one of our ESOC colleagues, who is at Santa Maria station (also referred to as Monte des Flores), in the Azores.
ESA ESTRACK engineers and local operations team at SMA station for Ariane 5 VA205 launch tracking, 23 March 2012 Credit: ESA/G. Billing
Gerhard writes: "For the launch countdown we have already performed the station internal tests and are now in the middle of a network-wide simulation of the flight. I attach a picture of the team here in Santa Maria."
Activity at SMA station preparing to track Ariane VA205, 23 March 2012 Credit: A. Majorosi
ESA stations to track Ariane 5 during ATV launch
Tomorrow, ESA's 5.5-m Santa Maria station will pick up telemetry signals as Ariane soars some 130 km overhead, set for 12min:28secs after liftoff from Kourou. This will be repeated during Ariane's second loop around Earth, 104 min:56secs after launch.
ESA's 15-m Perth station will acquire data starting 144min:13secs after liftoff during the launcher's second and final orbit.
Ariane 5 with ATV trajectory Credit: Arianespace
The stations will receive crucial telemetry data containing up-to-the-second information on Ariane's systems such as propulsion, guidance and navigation.
ESA's ground station engineer Gerhard Billig will be with the team at Santa Maria station, in the Azores, to track the rise of Ariane 5 tomorrow AM. Their operations will start at H0-9:30 (around 20:00CET this evening).
Tomorrow's activities are largely similar to tracking ATV-2 last year.
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