Martial Vanhove, the Project Manager of ATV

Martial Vanhove, CNES ATV Project Manager ©CNES/Girard, 2010

Nice update yesterday from Fabien in the French-language ATV Blog, who interviewed Martial Vanhove, the CNES ATV project manager working closely with the ESA Operations Management Team at ATV-CC. Our translation is below. – AL

What will happen at ATV-CC between now and the launch? What’s happening with the teams?

MV: The first actual operations related to the ATV-CC began in recent days. We are now shifting into our mission configuration – we will continue training through tests and simulations, but these will include fewer injected faults so that we can start working as we will for actual launch and flight. Everyone is ready to go – the aim now is to enable the mission controllers to update confirm the final nominal mission procedures.

What are the next test to be held in the ATV-CC?

MV: We have [had] a JIS (Joint Integrated Simulation) on 2 February with our Russian and American partners. Then we proceed, a few days before launch, to simulations using the actual ATV vessel in Kourou.

Why was ATV docking, originally scheduled for 26 February, has been re-scheduled to 23 February, three days earlier?

MV: This decision is the result of a change in strategy. We will not be docking on a fixed date. Instead, we will proceed with docking eight days after launch. If the launch is delayed, so will the docking as we maintain this eight-day interval. With an ATV launch on 15 February, this strategy will allow the US Shuttle to reach the ISS on 26 February.

Due to the geographical position of Kourou, there is no launch ‘window’. To ensure that the ATV can meet the ISS at the scheduled time eight days after launch, the launch must take place at the planned time. If the launch must be delayed, it would shift by a full day, 23 hours and 35 minutes later.