UPDATE: Docking set for 24-02-2011 16:49 CET – amended (short) time line is here.

Let’s be right up front about this: Here at the ATV blog, we think ESA’s Automated Transfer Vehicle is one of the most aesthetically gorgeous spacecraft ever flown. And what it does – a fully automated docking to the ISS while both are orbiting at about 27 000 km/hr at an altitude of 350 km – is pretty impressive.

But we’ll be the first to admit that describing how it docks to the ISS is more than a little ‘techie’. Indeed, after the jump, you’ll find a full table providing all details necessary for those wishing to ‘channel’ their inner mission controller. 🙂

But for everyone else – including those who simply want the main highlights before they surf over to watch some of the excellent ATV videos we’ve blogged – here is the ‘non-tech’ run down and timeline for ATV docking.

(Make sure you read ‘ATV Johannes Kepler: Rendezvous & docking – step by step’ to match up this timeline with what will happen in space.)

[pdf http://blogs.esa.int/atv/files/2011/02/esa_atv2_launch_timeline_230220111745.pdf 640 860]

This version is downloadable as a PDF via SlideShare

Note: There are several minor inconsistencies between the reduced time-line above and the detailed version below as they were produced several hours apart and the mission plan is evolving in real time. The version below is the latest.

[pdf http://blogs.esa.int/atv/files/2011/02/Docking_timeline_for_blog_Johannes_Kepler_L1_2011-02-20_V06.pdf 640 860]