André Kuipers, Oleg Kononenko and their back-up crew passed the ATV exam yesterday with flying [orbiting? – Ed.] colours. They had to prove through six challenging scenarios that they can handle all aspects of ATV docking – including contingencies and off-nominal situations – to dock successfully to the ISS.
After passing the exam, they had an opportunity to debrief and chat with the only person who has been present for two ATVs in flight: Russian cosmonaut Sergei Volkov, who just landed on Tuesday and is still in post-flight quarantine.
Sergei participated in two ATV undockings and performed many operations on board both ATV Jules Verne and Johannes Kepler.
He remained on board the ISS from April to October 2008 and from June to November this year. His valuable reports will not only help the new ISS crews to know what to expect for ATV training and operations, but also help perfect and update attached-phase operational procedures and provide practical information for future missions.
Thanks to Lionel Ferra at the European Astronaut Centre for this excellent report.
Editor’s note: Access the full image gallery via Flickr.