ATV rotates the ISS for Progress docking

A quick note from ESA’s Charlotte Beskow, watching today’s Progress 42P docking to the ISS:

We are in the control room watching our screens, and on the main screen above us we see the black and white image of the ISS seen through the Progress camera. We can clearly see ATV with its solar arrays facing towards us – showing the classic ‘X’ configuration. Earlier today, ATV was used to turn the ISS around so that we are now flying at the ‘head of the stack’ – i.e. the ISS is flying backwards compared with its normal attitude. Docking is planned for 14:29.



  • Bdr John McGrath (HM Forces British Army) says:

    so when are they going to make a manned version of this or is it going to be a talking point and nothing really gets do in this directing and it goes the same way as the hermes project and europe still can’t launch its own people into space

    I await your reply with interest
    Bdr J M McGrath

    • Pete Harding says:

      Bdr J M McGrath,

      At one time, there was a proposal to turn the ATV into a crewed spacecraft to launch astronauts to the ISS, however that proposal has somewhat lost its momentum due to the fact that other private corporations are already pursuing that capability (namely SpaceX and their Dragon spacecraft). As such, developing the ATV for a crew or cargo return role would involve spending money to develop capabilities that already exist elsewhere, at a cheaper price. Thus, it is deemed not necessary.

      However, that’s not to say that the ATV doesn’t have a future. Quite on the contrary, ESA are currently in discussions with NASA about turning the ATV into a beyond-Earth crewed exploration vehicle, with one of the proposals including repeating the Apollo 8 Lunar fly-by mission with a crewed ATV.

      Best regards,

      -Pete Harding

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