All about the ISS, where ATV docks


Reboost test complete

Just received this from ESA Mission Director Thomas Beck, on console today at ATV-CC, Toulouse. The first reboost of the ISS by ATV-5 has been carried out successfully. The freighter’s main thrusters M1 and M3 were ignited today at 18:58:00 CEST (16:58:00 GMT) and burned for 469 secs using up 151.6 kg of propellant. The manoeuvre increased the ISS’s velocity by about 1.1 m/sec.

Replica of the International Space Station made of 221,...

Very, very impressive! That’s more matchsticks than Mt Everest is tall! Well done, Patrick Acton! An #ISS scale model… made from 243 000 matchsticks!? Our ATV Jules Verne is in there too! — ESA (@esa) August 13, 2014

One more stunning photo to end a fabulous day! This one taken a few days back on 5 August when ATV-5 was still in free flight, but we hadn’t an opportunity to post it. Now that George Lemaître is docked and things are calming down a bit, please enjoy! Big thanks to Yujiro Suzuki-san in Japan!

ATV completes final automated docking

In a flawless demonstration of technology and skill, ESA’s fifth and final ATV, Georges Lemaître, docked with the International Space Station today, fixing itself firmly for a six-month resupply and reboost mission. The fully automated docking came at 13:30 GMT (15:30 CEST), just a few moments after the cargo vessel’s extended probe made contact with the cone on the aft of Russia’s Zvezda module. Full article via ESA web

Time line charts for today’s rendezvous and docki...

A set of detailed time line charts showing what happens when during rendezvous and docking today. These are a little technical, but will appeal to all the would-be spacecraft operations engineers out there (and, if you’re reading this blog, you know who you are!).    

Crew gets ready

And upstairs, ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst and Russian cosmonaut Sasha Skvortsov are getting ready to oversee today’s docking! Preparing to control docking of @ESA's #ATV5 space cargo freighter to #ISS today. Watch on — Alexander Gerst (@Astro_Alex) August 12, 2014


ATV-5 mission profile

An excellent video produced by our friends at CNES showing the entire ATV-5 mission profile, including the fly-under on Friday and the manoeuvres that take place today to bring ATV back below and behind the ISS (it’s now in front). Also includes the shallow reentry planned for year end after undocking. La mission ATV-5 et ses spécificités from CNES on Vimeo.

Today’s manoeuvres complete – update from A...

ESA Mission Director Thomas Beck at ATV-CC sent in this report earlier this morning. Today’s set of manoeuvres has been completed successfully (details below). After the fly-under on Friday, these manoeuvres lifted ATV today above the ISS in order to make the vessel slowly drift behind the Station. By the time of the next set of manoeuvres planned for Monday, ATV’s orbit will be lowered again to below the ISS altitude in order to make the freighter drift towards the Station. A single manoeuvre will then place ATV into the hold point S-1/2 (5 km behind, 39 km below ISS) marking the end of phasing operations. TA-1 Ignition time: 03:19:02 Duration: 62...


Astro Alex describes ATV arrival for US media

A great Q&A session between ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst and US media! He talks about the Rosetta mission, amongst other topics. Alexander is onboard the International Space Station at a member of the Expedition 40 crew and is living and working on the ISS for five and a months for the Bluedot mission. On 6 August, ESA’s comet chaser Rosetta arrived at comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko after a 10-year journey. We’ve set the time tags in this video to start/end at the ATV question (of course!) but you really do want to watch the whole clip.

ATV-5 seen from ISS: More great pictures

We’ve just received several more excellent photos of last night’s flyunder, showing ATV-5 just 7 km below the ISS. Photos were taken by the crew during closest approach.      

Recording success: ATV flyunder complete

Update from LIRIS project engineer Olivier Mongrard from ATV-CC. ATV-5 flew as expected within 7km below the ISS during the evening of Friday/Saturday, 8/9 August, and the telemetry received from the LIRIS cameras was good. A total of almost 2 hours image data were recorded. Our first closeup view of #ATV5 Georges Lemaitre in space. It will dock to #ISS on Tuesday. Stay tuned! — Alexander Gerst (@Astro_Alex) August 9, 2014 Note that the images themselves will only be retrieved with their dedicated recorders when they are returned later this year aboard a Soyuz capsule. The ATV communication system would not allow transmitting such a large amount of data; we don’t...

ATV-CC at 23:45 CEST

Update from Charlotte Beskow at ATV-CC for Friday’s Flyunder. Friday night in ATV-CC, Toulouse. You cannot believe it is 23:30, the place is humming with activities because ATV is busy doing the fly-under. This is a specific operation for ATV-5 (as explained by my colleague Olivier in a previous blog post) that will allow the three specially fitted cameras that ATV5 is carrying on the front cone to be turned on and record images as ATV passes underneath the ISS. Three teams are involved: Flight control team   Engineering support team and then we have the all-important Flight dynamics team, without whom we would not be anywhere near the ISS! Flight dynamics...

ISS & ATV-5 in orbit tonight

ISS and ATV-5 seen over Germany this evening. Nice shot, @gottie29! @cruuzer Hier mal ein Foto davon @Astro_Alex @ESA_de — Stefan Gotthold (@gottie29) August 8, 2014

Final manoeuvres before flyunder & LIRIS demonstra...

Update from Jean-Michel Bois at ATV-CC. Following the computations made by the CNES Flight Dynamics team, the two final boosts before the fly-under were executed as planned this afternoon – the first boost at 14:16 (2.63 m/s change in speed) using the main OCS (Orbit control system) thrusters and the second boost at 14:58 (for a 2.54 m/s change in speed) using the attitude control (ACS) thrusters. Next step : ATV passing under the ISS roughly between 21:00 and 23:00 UTC (23:00-01:00 CEST). – Jean-Michel

Spot ATV-5 & ISS together tonight

A number of very helpful folk have sent in comments and notes to remind us to remind you that tonight could be a great night to look up… to the ISS & ATV-5. Before we get to tonight’s details, this is also a great opportunity to share some of Ralf Vandebergh’s excellent space photos from the past few days. Ralf writes: Attached are the ATV-5 images from 1 August with now a better view of the solar panels. I have exposed the ATV body slightly over this time in order to get a better view of the solar panels. I also attach a set of ISS images taken in the same orbit...

ATV-5 now 15 km below ISS

Yesterday’s two manoeuvres – the first set of the three sets of TIV (‘transfer to ISS vicinity’) manoeuvres – went according to plan. The two burns resulted in the following: TV2-1: Delta-V – change in speed  – of 6.7 m/s, an underboost of -0.16% TV2-2: Delta-V of 6.69m/s, underboost of -0.19% “We are now roughly 15 km below the IS; the next manoeuvres are TV3-1 and TV3-2 planned at 14:17 and 14:40 GMT (16:17 & 16:40 CEST),” says ESA Mission Director Mike Steinkopf at ATV-CC.

LIRIS: Laser Infra-Red Imaging Sensors demonstrator on ...

Yesterday the ESA website introduced LIRIS, a new generation of imaging sensors that will be demonstrated on ATV-5. Here is some more technical information on the project: The Laser Infra-Red imaging Sensors (LIRIS) is a technology demonstration for future non-cooperative rendezvous applications that will be demonstrated on the last ATV mission Georges Lemaître launching this year. ATV navigation is based on cooperative rendezvous technology. At long range, relative GPS navigation is used, based on data from ATV’s and the International Space Station’s GPS receiver measurements. At short range, navigation uses optical sensors on ATV (videometers and telegoniometers) that bounce off a set of targets on the Space Station, the so called retro-reflectors....


3D virtual visits: inside and out of the International ...

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...

How to cook a meteorite for travel to the International...

Ingredients: 1 space-grade silicone polymer 1 meteorite Tools:  Spatula Brush Rotary grinder Vacuum oven Preheat settings: Vacuum oven to 100°C at 0.01 mbar Oven to 400°C The voyage of our reconstituted art-meteorite took a significant step closer to space last week when it was prepared and coated to be space (re-)worthy. To recap the voyage so far: a piece of the Campo del Cielo meteorite that fell to Earth over 5000 years ago was bought by artist Katie Paterson, based in Berlin. She took a mould of her piece of space rock, melted down the meteorite and reformed an exact copy. Now the rock has a new destination: the International Space Station...


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. Vladimir wrote: 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.

Excellent view of ATV-4 a few seconds after separation

An excellent view of ATV Albert Einstein seen just moments after it separated from the ISS during the undocking procedure, 28 October 2013. In the docking ring, you can clearly see an electrical connector, a fluidic connector, some of the hooks and a pusher – the mechanical thingy that actually gives ATV the first shove away from the Russian Service Module (click through for hi-res version in Flickr). Image credit: NASA