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,...

ATV-5 undocking preparations in Russia

ATV Operations Support and Russian Interfaces Manager, Regina Mosenkis,  from Airbus, works closely with the Russian Control Centre during ATV missions. She sent us this update on preparations for ATV-5 undocking: With less than three weeks until ATV-5 undocks from the International Space Station, let’s take a look at the Russian TsUP (Mission Control Centre in Moscow/Korolev) that plays a crucial role in all ATV missions ever since the docking of the first ATV Jules Verne in April 2008. The TsUP main control room has seen many dockings of the Russian Soyuz and Progress vehicles and five very precise dockings of ATVs. It will soon take part in the final undocking of...

ATV fuel consumption

A while back, a reader asked for fuel consumption figures for our favourite space freighter via the blog’s feedback form: “I would like to have some detailed info on the consumed fuel in kg during the rendezvous phase of ATV towards the International Space Station, split for attitude and orbit manoeuvres. In detail I am looking for data on fuel consumption evolution to maintain the ATV with the wished attitude possibly for each phase (Yaw Steering, Target Pointing).” A quick email to ESA’s Laurent Arzel working on the Flight Dynamics team at ATV Control Centre in Toulouse gives all the answers we could need. Laurent writes: “Between launch and docking, ATV burns...

Arms that never tire: Robots in space! 28 Jan

Join us for a hangout with ESA Astronaut Tim Peake & Rosetta Project Scientist Dr Matt Taylor as they discuss robotics in space missions. #RobotsInSpace Date: Wednesday 28 January 2015 || Time: 17:00 GMT 18:00 CET 11:00 Houston || Access via http://goo.gl/nfxg0g #RobotsInSpace Presented by ESA in cooperation with the UK Science and Innovation Network and the UK Space Agency.  

Something rare in the air

A quick update this morning from our ATV-5 Mission Manager, Massimo Cislaghi. On Friday evening, 17 January, the ISS crew noticed a bad smell inside the ATV cabin. The crew ‘closed the door’ (shut the ATV hatch, which normally remains open) as one would do at home, waiting for instructions from ground. It is virtually certain that the source of the odour is some trash cargo. Yesterday, it was decided that an inspection will be carried out today to try and identify the stinking cargo bag and eliminate the smell. The only (modest) effect on attached phase operations is that the water transfer planned for today has been postponed.

ATV-5 mission report #37

The folks at ATV Control Centre in Toulouse supplied another mission report on ATV Georges Lemaître, three weeks before its undocking. Unloading of water, fuel and air is either finished or almost. With engineering precision the update lists cargo unloading as only 98% finished. The remaining 2% refers to the reentry recorders that will document ATV-5’s demise on 27 February (more about this in future posts) During last weeks (false) alarm on the International Space Station, ATV Control Centre turned off ATV-5’s fans and Inter Module Ventilation, but they have returned to normal operations. Before that water was transferred to the Stationa in exchange for liquid waste. The numbers: Dry cargo :...

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Got questions? We have answers

We saw a question yesterday in Twitter from someone, and now we can’t find the tweet. 🙁 But we did note down the query: .@esaoperations why won't there be more ATVs? What will replace their capabilities? Thanks. Regardless of their source, they’re good questions! ATV-5 Mission Manager Massimo Cislaghi replies to the second point: There no 1:1 replacement to the ATV, but rather there will be a redistribution of its capabilities among the rest of the ISS servicing fleet, i.e. Dragon, Cygnus (when back in operation), HTV and – of course – Progress, this last vehicle being to my knowledge the only one capable of performing ISS reboost and refuelling. ESA’s Head...

Mission update 9 January

Today marks just 34 days before ATV-5 undocking from the ISS and 47 days until re-entry. The mission is doing extremely well, and, as mentioned recently by our mission manager, Massimo Cislaghi, in an email: Georges Lemaître’s performance continues to be ‘EXCELLENT’. With the spacecraft in good shape, cargo off-loading and trash loading continue according to plans, while teams at ATV-CC are very busy preparing for undocking, a two-week free-flight phase, phasing for re-entry and finally, on 27 February, re-entry itself, which is shaping up to be a spectacular show (we’ll report on these upcoming activities in future posts here in the blog – Ed.). As last week ended, on 9 January,...

ATV-5 Mission Manager 2/3 mission report – reentr...

ATV-5 mission manager Massimo Cislaghi sent us this informative update on ATV-5’s planned reentry that will take place next month: As promised with my previous mid-mission report of 7 November I come back to you for a short update, this time focusing on the preparation of the end of the mission, which also means (sigh …) the end of the entire ATV Programme. A novelty introduced for ATV-5’s docking was the LIRIS demonstration including a special ISS “fly-under”. With that finished we are now concentrating our efforts towards the implementation of another totally new operation during Georges Lemaître’s reentry, which deserves few words of background. When the International Space Station reaches its...

ATV-5: Europe’s heaviest-ever payload

Looks like our favourite spaceship, ATV-5, weighed in as Europe’s heaviest-ever payload! The vessel was launched on 29 July 2014 at 23:44 GMT, with a mass of just over 20,245 kilograms. Thanks, Arianespace! One more record in 2014: #ATV5 was the heaviest payload ever launched by Europe on July’s #Ariane5 Flight #VA219 pic.twitter.com/eE0rVw59Wv — Arianespace (@Arianespace) December 19, 2014

Pumping up the ISS

Station repressurisation complete! Next planned ATV-5 activity set for 23 December: water transfer. Repress #ISS completed: 13 mbar more air in 2hrs51min thx to @AstroSamantha & #ATV5 #futura42 @Outpost_42 pic.twitter.com/Em4OKiKP90 — lionelferra (@lionelferra) December 19, 2014

Seeing ISS through a computer’s eye

This week the first images from the LIRIS technology demonstration were published on the ESA website. LIRIS is demonstrating technology that could be used for docking with uncooperative targets by scanning space objects in infrared and lidar. For its first outing in space it was place on ATV-5 to scan the International Space Station. The results are some incredible views of the weightless research centre. Some people on Twitter were asking why the resolution of the images are so low. We asked Olivier Mongrard, project engineer for LIRIS at ESA to explain: The image resolution should be put in the context of a demonstration for Guidance Navigation and Control. The sensors were...

Astro Sam working in ATV

Our ATV-5 welcomes a new European astronaut into its massive cargo carrier! At the very back end of the #ISS ready to give “a push” when needed: our #ATV5. I will work there for 1st time today! pic.twitter.com/g0FkFaOnxx — Sam Cristoforetti (@AstroSamantha) November 28, 2014

European Service Module gets real

On 17 November, ESA signed a contract in Berlin with the Airbus Defence and Space division to develop and build the European Service Module for Orion, NASA’s new crewed spacecraft. It is the first time that Europe will provide system-critical elements for an American space transportation vehicle. NASA intends to use this service module for the 2017 unmanned flight of Orion. The vehicle will perform a high-altitude orbital mission around the Moon. This flight will be a precursor for future Orion human space exploration missions beyond low-Earth orbit. The official name of Orion is ‘Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle’, because the spacecraft can be used to conduct different missions. Eventually, NASA will use Orion...

ATV education challenge relaunched

In August we offered five limited-edition box-sets of ATV heritage in a competition for the best educational videos on physics. The prize includes all five ATV mission patches and pins with five DVD’s worth of educational videos packaged in a sleek blue box. Never before has a competition on the ATV blog had such little response. An explanation for this baffles us, considering the amazing prize we have on offer. ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst himself was overjoyed on receiving his prize for his unique demonstration of the physics behind a comet landing, he took a picture of himself with the box set on the International Space Station. Watch his entry below: We...

ATV-5 mid-mission report: EXCELLENT

ESA’s ATV-5 mission manager Massimo Cislaghi sent this mid-mission report on ATV Georges Lemaître: About 3.5 months have passed since the launch of ATV Georges Lemaître on 29 July, and about 3.5 months are left before the end of its mission. We do not have a fixed date yet, but we are targeting the end of February 2015. Therefore, as my more famous compatriot Dante Alighieri used to say “nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita …” or “halfway through the journey of our life…” I take the liberty to provide you with a short summary of how the mission is going, even if this could be summarised with just one word:...