Just spoke with ESA’s Bob Chesson, Head of the Human Spaceflight Operations dept. He’s just come back from the ATV control room to report:

  • ATV Johannes Kepler is functioning flawlessly
  • Solar panels are providing full power
  • GPS ‘convergence’ – the time from switching the GPS receiving system ON to getting a confirmed, locked position – was just three minutes – apparently a record of some sort… 🙂
  • And: no alarms from any of ATV’s systems during the entire launch sequence.

The teams here are very, very happy. In Kourou, an ecstatic Nico Dettmann rang the BBC to report: “It was enormous; the mission was flawless.”

Also in Kourou, Charlotte Beskow sent in a short but happy note: “Operations have started. Solar arrays are deployed. GPS active and converged, propulsion system is working. Launcher mission is finished and it is time to finish for the evening. Docking with the ISS foreseen on 24 Feb at 15:45 GMT. Good night everyone!!!!”

I also got a note from Gerhard Billig, way out in the Atlantic Ocean at ESA’s Santa Maria station: “ATV Pass 2 tracked successfully, again everything nominal. We will now do a final check on the recording and confirm.” His colleague, Robert Launer, working at ESA’s Perth, Australia, station, reported similar success. So the guys at ESA’s tracking stations are also happy…

That wraps up of launch day coverage – check back often as we continue to bring you live updates on the Johannes Kepler mission.