Current ATV-5 Hatch configuration, 29 August 2014. Credit: ESA/NASA
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ATV hatch closing – video

ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti working with Russian cosmonaut Sasha Samokutyaev to close the ATV-5 hatch on 13 February 2015. Credit: ESA/NASA As seen via NASA TV As monitored at ATV-CC Toulouse (no audio)

Interior of ATV5 ready for undocking Credit: ESA/NASA

Update on ATV close-out

This sent in earlier this afternoon by ATV Cargo Operations Engineer Colleen Boggs at ATV-CC. This morning the ISS commander loaded the last bag into ATV – there is not much space left, they packed in tons (literally)!...

Charlotte Beskow Credit: ESA

ATV-5: getting ready to go

The ESA, CNES and industrial support teams at ATV-CC are hard at work today preparing the vehicle for departure from the ISS tomorrow. ESA’s Charlotte Beskow, taking a short break from her work as part of the...

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Watch the last ATV undocking live

(Scroll below the video windows for regular blog updates) Watch live from Saturday 14:00 CET courtesy of French space agency CNES (transmission in French). Watch live from Saturday 14:15 CET courtesy of NASA TV (transmission in English).

ATV teams preparing for undocking

A quick pic from ATV-CC today, showing the ESA and CNES mission control teams in the main control room configuring the ATV-5 cargo ship for tomorrow’s undocking. Separation from the ISS is set for 14:44 CET, 14 February.  

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ATV-5 is GO for undocking

Update just received from Jean-Michel Bois, head of the ESA operations team at ATV-CC. The ISS Mission Management Team (IMMT) has given the GO for ATV5 undocking. The decision comes after a final check was performed with the ISS authorities and our International Partners on 12 February. The IMMT, the ‘ISS management board’, verifies before arrival or departure of each visiting vehicle the readiness of all ISS partners (NASA, RSC-E, JAXA, CSA and ESA) and ISS teams (operations, crew, engineering team, &etc.) and ensures that all ISS and vehicle activities and safety matters have been reviewed and are compatible with the specific planned event. Yesterday, the ESA Operations team at AT-CC Toulouse presented...

Undocking/reentry timeline 13-15 Feb

Timeline is based on the latest info provided by ATV-CC Toulouse and will be updated in real time between now and Sunday. If any specific event should change by just a few minutes, we may not get a moment to update this and we’ll let you know via Twitter (you do follow @esaoperations in Twitter, don’t you?). All times GMT Friday 13 Feb By 16:00 ATV Flight dynamics team complete final undocking & reentry predictions 10:27 ATV-CC – Start configuring ATV for egress, undock & flight, without the failed PDC4 chain 12:45 Initialise on board GPS settings 15:10 – 18:00 Start of egress activities for crew. This includes:Remove surplus equipmentClose-out photos/video of...

ATV-5 ready for final tasks and undocking

Just in from ATV Control Centre, ATV-5 is ready for its final tasks and undocking on Saturday. All the air, water and fuel that it took with it from Earth has been transferred to the International Space Station. By weight the spaceraft is leaving with almost as much Station waste as it had in dry cargo when it arrived in August. The trash that Georges Lemaître will take with it has been loaded and balanced to keep its centre of mass known. Details below: General Status ·      All cargo loaded and balanced ·      Standard steep reentry on 15 February,  instead of shallow reentry ·      ATV-CC nominal....

Issue on ATV-5 power chain number 4

Jean-Michel Bois from the ATV Control Centre shares the operations perspective on yesterday’s decision to go for a normal ATV-5 reentry: On Tuesday 3 February, ATV’s onboard software detected an anomaly on power chain 4. According to its protocol, it isolated the full chain: the rechargeable battery 4, the equipment managing the power chain (called Power Control and Distribution Unit or PCDU) and all elements of the ATV subsystem connected to this power line. The ATV is designed to be robust to such a failure, one power chain isolation has no impact on ATV’s function, but obviously several subsystem redundancies were switched off (one of two videometers, one of two GPS transceivers,...

ATV’s not over ’til it’s over

Diary from a Space Project: ATV-5  10 Feb 2015 This report provided this afternoon by ESA’s Charlotte Beskow, at ATV-CC, reporting on the ESA and CNES team activities and giving details on the decision to perform a standard reentry on 15 February. The mission is drawing to a close… but it’s still not over !!! Working with ATV is a bit like being on a roller coaster… Friday, 6 February As mentioned last week, we simulated ATV undocking with (only) three out of four power chains functional. The simulation went well and the teams are now using the data from that exercise to prepare for Saturday’s (real) undocking. In parallel, the expert...

Checking twice

Last week, the last of the optical windows were installed and the DC-8 aircraft was taken to the tarmac for communication tests. Experts from NASA Ames and the SETI Institute called the ATV Control Centre, Toulouse, France, who then called back to confirm links worked both ways. In tests coordinated by ESA’s Laurent Arzel, it was confirmed that the aircraft can communicate over the INMARSAT and Iridium satelite networks by voice and internet. Details via the ATV5 Reentry Campaign website.

ATV-4 reentry in 2013. Credits: ESA/NASA

ATV-5 reentry observation campaign

The ATV vessels deliver, amongst many other valuable items, scientific equipment to the ISS. But that’s not their only value to orbital research. On 27 February, during the reentry of ATV-5, the cargo vessel will contribute a...

A complex vehicle: Update on ATV-5 power issue

This report sent in by Charlotte Beskow late this afternoon, detailing activities around the power issue that affected ATV earlier this week. Staying on the safe side Another interesting day in the office. The main objective of the day was to run a simulation  of the undocking sequence with one power chain failed, i.e. representative of the situation we have today. The simulation at ATV-CC in Toulouse started at 08:00 CET; after the  the usual difficulties with getting started (initialising the correct configuration, representative of the current vehicle status), activating consoles and environments in the backup control room (completely separate from the nominal one), the simulation proceeded smoothly. Both the Flight Control...

Murphy strikes: update on ATV-5 power problem

Update on the final activities to prepare ATV-5 for undocking and on the current issue affecting power, provided by Charlotte Beskow, from the ATV Programme team. During the ATV-5 attached phase we have enjoyed a long period of ‘normal work’. A nice change from previous flights that were all quite ‘animated’. Make no mistake, ATV-5 has been a busy mission in terms of operations. There have been plenty of cargo operations, the standard activities of refuelling the ISS, oxygen discharge, air discharge as well as the occasional propulsive support. And on the whole, the vehicle has performed very well, (even the cabin air circulation fan is still running despite, our bets on...

ATV – сделан в России (ATV: made in Russia)

Having exhausted the European contributions of our ‘ATV Made-in-‘ series on national contributions to the ATV project, now we look further abroad to our international partners. The International Space Station, as its name implies, is a collaboration between the USA, Russia, ESA, Canada and Japan, so parts of ATV (which is also part of the International Space Station programme) were supplied by Russia and USA. For no reason at all, let’s start with Russia.

How to pack an ATV – an astronaut’s perspec...

Last weekend ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti posted an update on her Google+ page dealing with the same news we covered on this blog: ATV-5’s deboost of the International Space Station and how to pack an ATV. Read her entry below to get an astronaut’s perspective of ATV happenings, and we recommend her other posts as well!

Weighing waste in weightlessness

Last week in response to this update on loading ATV-5 with trash we received another question through Twitter: @esaoperations @AstroSamantha do you need to “weigh” rubbish before putting it in the ATV? If so, how is it done on the #ISS ? Thank you — Gloria Graizzaro (@gloriagraizzaro) January 30, 2015 We forwarded this to Kirsten Macdonell, now Senior Columbus and Payload Operations Engineer: The answer is, although the mass of ATV, including its trash, must be known, nothing is weighed on orbit. Everything has already been weighed on the ground before launch. Therefore, when an item is trashed we already know its mass from before it was launched. For items like...

More details on the deboost

A few more details on the background and planning behind last week’s rare ISS deboost performed by ATV-5. This text was sent in by ESA’s  Eric van der Wal, based at Johnson Space Centre, Houston, Texas. On a regular basis, the ISS performs reboosts for achieving the correct orbital phase angles in order for Russian visiting vehicles to successfully rendezvous with the ISS. Reboosts are also sometimes preformed to counteract natural orbital decay. These orbital manoeuvres are planned months in advance and are continuously adjusted based on solar activity. As Solar Cycle #24 approaches a minimum over the next few years, both Russia and NASA agreed that continuing to do posigrade phasing...

Can this be squeezed in here? Loading ATV-5 with waste

Charlotte Beskow sends an update on one of the last steps for ATV-5… loading it with rubbish. The mission is going well and the past few weeks in December and January have been more or less “normal” work. I write “normal” in quotations because it depends entirely on the activity. The cargo people for example have had their hands more than full. The end of the ATV-5 mission is fast approaching and one of our tasks is to take out the garbage. One Earth garbage is usually collected at least once a week. In space things are not quite so simple. ATV-5 has been attached to the International Space Station since 12...

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:

ATV5: putting the brakes on the ISS

A concise update just in from Jean-Michel Bois, the ESA Mission Director at ATV-CC working on today’s ATV propulsive support. We have been asked to use ATV-5 to decrease – a little – the ISS altitude, by around 1 km. A lower orbit slightly increases the (already tiny) drag exerted by the wisps of atmosphere on the ISS and, therefore, also increases the decay of the ISS orbit. This allows the visiting vehicles (Progress, SpaceX, Cygnus, &etc.) to bring up to Station a heavier load. ATV-5 will be used this afternoon to ‘put on the brakes’, reducing the speed of the ISS so that it consequently will drop to new lower, but stable,...