ATV Control Centre web documentary

Interactive book on ATV Control Centre

Our friends at France’s space agency CNES have published an excellent interactive book on ATV seen through the eyes of the ATV Control Centre. From the first signatures in 1995 to the last command sent, the web...

R-4D thruster. Credits: Aerojet

ATV: Made in America

Even though the last of the ATVs, Georges Lemaître, ended its mission last month we still have one more country to finish our ‘ATV-Made-in’ series: the United States of America. American company Aerojet supplied ATV’s large 490-N...

Shining light on ATV

Matt Quail asked us a question via Twitter to @esaoperations based on last week’s ATV fuel consumption article: @esaoperations do you need the yaw manoeuvres because the solar panels are fixed, and you need to be nose-to-Sun the whole time? — Matt Quail (@spudbean) January 22, 2015 Once again, ESA’s Laurent Arzel took a short time off calculating flight dynamics for ATV to offer some illumination on the matter:

Here be dragons

NASA astronaut Don Pettit posted a great animation of ATV-3 docking from back when he was on the International Space Station in 2012 during Expedition 30/31


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! 🙂

ATVs thru the years

A regular ATV-in-the-sky watcher, Ralf Vandebergh, has sent in an excellent collage of ATV-1, -3 and -4. Thank you, Ralf! This is a surprise (to celebrate the 4th successful ATV docking?). Hope you want post it on the blog! However I totally missed the 2nd ATV due to constantly unfavourable circumstances…

How ATV Albert Einstein is the heaviest ever

We got a quick confirmation from ESA’s ATV-4 Mission Manager Alberto Novelli on how Albert Einstein – at 20 235kg – weighs in as the heaviest spacecraft ever lifted by Ariane – more so than any of the three previous ATVs. Alberto wrote: It’s important not to mix up the weight of cargo with the overall weight of the ATV. In terms of cargo, we are slightly less than ATV-3 (on the order of 10kg) and definitely less than ATV-2. In terms of overall mass, we are heavier than any ATV and any satellite launched in Europe so far by about 200kg. The reason is that we have a higher “tare” mass – including the cargo...

Into space with ATV – Back to Earth with Dragon

Students send ‘Message to Earth’ into space via ESA’s ATV and back home via the US Dragon capsule – scroll down for link to complete DVD in YT We have a great little story to share with you today on the completion of an imaginative journey taken by a group of young people from the local community youth group (MJC) in Elbeuf, France, 120km north-west of Paris. The nine students, aged 9-16, sent a DVD to the ISS on board ATV Eduardo Amaldi, which launched from Kourou, French Guiana, on board Ariane flight VA205 on 23 March 2012. The disc was stored, of course, on board Europe’s Columbus science module. The DVD...


Using astronaut Mike Fossum’s YouTube video to me...

By Rhett Allain The Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) doesn’t just bring supplies to the International Space Station. It can also be used for ISS reboosts. What is a reboost? In short, during a reboost, the ISS velocity is increased by a small amount to bring the space station up to a slightly higher orbit. Why is this needed? Well, although the ISS is in space, there is still stuff up there (gas from the atmosphere) that exerts a small drag force on the Station, decreases its velocity. The reboost are there just to keep it where it needs to be. This video shows the inside of the ISS during an ATV reboost,...

All quiet with ATV… Not!

ATV-3 – 3-7 December 2012: Post-Flight Review ATV-4 – 18 April 2013: Launch (forecast) = L – 4.5 months… Tuesday, 3 December 2012 It has been two months since I last provided some information. You’ll be forgiven for thinking that this silent period is due to a bit of post mission peace and quiet… nothing could be further from the truth! Editor’s note: The latest instalment in Deputy Mission Manager Charlotte Beskow’s mission diary ATV-3 undocking, initially set for 25 September, took place in two steps due to a mishap in the programming of the communications link (see Extra information on undocking postponement – Ed.). A minor error with no major consequence...

ATV-3 Orbital Photo Contest winners

It was a tough haul to assess, grade and rank the excellent ATV Orbital Photo Contest images submitted from around the world (that’s why we’re a bit late announcing the winners). All were great for one or more reasons, and on behalf of ESA’s entire ATV team, we’d like to publicly thank Don Thomas, Yujiro Suzuki, Taichi Iwamoto, Meire Ruiz, Patrick Faucon and Marco Langbroek for their great work. Without further ado, it’s my pleasure to announce the top three winners! 1st place – Many ATVs seen in orbit – Don Thomas, UK 2nd place – ATV-3 seen against deep blue dawn sky – Yujiro Suzuki, JP 3rd place – Eddie seen from...

ATV-3 mission milestones

Times in UTC23/03/12 04:34 – ATV-3 liftoff28/03/12 22:31 – ISS docking31/03/12 22:54 – ‘0th’ reboost (test)05/04/12 20:06 – 1st reboost25/04/12 13:13 – 2nd reboost04/05/12 09:37 – 3rd reboost26/05/12 01:10 – 4th reboost20/06/12 14:55 – 5th reboost18/07/12 07:16 – 6th reboost15/08/12 16:00 – 7th reboost22/08/12 09:45 – 8th reboost14/09/12 05:05 – 9th reboost28/09/2012 21:44 – ATV-3 undocking03/10/2012 01:23 – ATV-3 final loss of signal

Space moths: Many ATVs seen in orbit

Arguably one of the most interesting images of ATV we’ve ever received! Here is the final submission in the fabulous ATV Orbital Photo Contest, sent in by Don Thomas, Surrey, UK. Don wrote: I was really interested when I read that there was going to be an imaging contest as I have been fascinated by the fact that men and women are actually living in space and orbiting around our planet. I still can’t really believe it. I was fortunate enough to get some pictures of ATV-3 on its way to the ISS and the image is a stacked montage of these pictures, which I would like to enter in the contest....

Seen from ISS: ATV-3 disappears in smoke and dust

A stunning, first-ever photo showing smoke and dust from the burn up of an ATV – evidence of the fiery plunge through Earth’s atmosphere and the destructive re-entry of Edoardo Amaldi. This image was taken by Expedition 33 crew members aboard the International Space Station on 3 October 2012.

Ghostly images of a departed spaceship

Well, perhaps the title’s a bit melodramatic… but these are ‘ghostly’ images as ATV-3 is now longer in existence! These are a selection of images taken by the ISS crew during hatch closure last week, when the placement and location of stowed waste and trash was documented prior to departure (this infro needed to verify centre-of-gravity calculations). They are some of the last ever photos of the inside of ATV Edoardo Amaldi.       Thanks to Colleen Boggs, ESA’s ATV Cargo Operations Engineer, for sharing!  

It’s official: ATV-3 mission is complete

ESA just released a press release marking the end of the ATV-3 mission. Mission accomplished for ATV Edoardo AmaldiPR 32 2012 – ESA’s third Automated Transfer Vehicle cargo ferry, Edoardo Amaldi, completed the final part of its highly successful six-month servicing mission to the International Space Station by reentering the atmosphere today and burning up as planned over an uninhabited area of the southern Pacific ocean. Read more at ESA web portal…   

Mission done and done well!

A short note from Jean-Michel Bois, Head of the ESA Mission Operations Team at ATV-CC in Toulouse: Everybody is happy here. For sure it’s the end of a rare technical and human adventure, with hours spent in the control centre, nights and days, to monitor this incredible vehicle. Such a complex and successful mission is a major event in professional career. All objectives of the mission were achieved: delivery of cargo, fuel, water and oxygen to the Station plus support for numerous reboosts and collection and destruction of ISS waste. This ATV-3 mission was especially demanding for the ATV-CC teams with numerous contingencies during the mission, none critical, but to be solved...

Reentry Breakup Recorder successfully records data

Update at 03:58 CEST from Bill Ailor, the project lead for the REBR investigation. Read/watch more about this fascinating device here – Ed. The Reentry Breakup Recorder successfully recorded data during the reentry and breakup of the European Space Agency’s Automated Transfer Vehicle ATV-3. Recording began when ATV-3 entered the atmosphere and continued through breakup of ATV-3, release of REBR during breakup, and REBR impact with the South Pacific Ocean. At first look, the data look good. Assessment and analysis of the data will begin shortly.

Reentry Breakup Recorder is delivering data!

This just in from William Ailor, Principal Engineer, Center for Orbital and Reentry Debris Studies, The Aerospace Corporation, California, on the marvellous little REBR: We are receiving data from the Reentry Breakup Recorder that reentered inside ESA’s ATV-3 vehicle! — Bill

Final update from ATV-CC mission director on console

This just in from ESA’s Mike Steinkopf at ATV-CC, who sat on duty as mission director for de-orbiting tonight: Deorbit burn No. 2 was successful. ATV-3 has nominally performed its destructive re-entry. Mission accomplished! ATV-3 was a record-setting mission, the longest mission with some new challenges we had to overcome. Even if Edoardo Amaldi was the third ATV mission, this simply shows that in space operations, nothing becomes a routine. Now the ATV-CC team is happy but tired and looking forward to get some rest! ATV-3 is gone but ATV Albert Einstein is already in Kourou…