André Kuipers in ATV-3

André Kuipers in ATV-3. Credits: NASA

We’re approximately half-way through the ATV-3 mission, so it’s a good time to provide an update on what’s been happening with Edoardo Amaldi, and what’s planned in the next few months.

Overall results? Here’s a quote from a recent email report to the ATV community sent by ESA’s Mission Manager Massimo Cislaghi:

“ATV Edoardo Amaldi is fulfilling its mission in  an excellent manner — and is completing all tasks inherent to its mission to the ISS.”

Now, let’s look at the numbers. As of 20 June, ATV has performed the following ISS servicing activities:

  • All 2200 kg of dry cargo have been transferred to the ISS (and ~592 kg of trash have been loaded)
  • 1 tank of air (~ 33 kg) has been emptied into the ISS atmosphere (the two other gas tanks containing O2 are waiting for the same operation)
  • Slightly more that the half of the potable water (~154 litres) has been transferred to the Russian ISS segment tanks
  • ATV has performed five ISS orbit reboosts and one ISS attitude control manoeuvre (to facilitate a Soyuz docking in mid-May), burning ~1450 kg of propellant
  • ISS refuelling operations performed on 19 June have allowed to transfer more than 800 kg of propellant inside the FGB “Zarya” tanks

(For details on bringing the ATV power chain back into full operation, scroll to bottom of this post.)

Massimo ended his note with: “Thanks to all of you for the contribution given to the ATV programme in general and Edoardo Amaldi in particular!

Now, let’s take a look at recent activity (click on ‘Continue Reading’ for full post).

Recent activity

20 June
A one-burn reboost of the ISS using the ATV’s Orbit Correction System (OCS) thrusters was performed at 15:55 CEST with a burn duration of 9:20 m:sec, achieving a change in speed of of 1.32 m/s against the planned 1.35 m/s and increasing mean altitude by 2.36 km. After the burn, the ISS was at 399.9 km mean altitude, with 411.1 km apogee height and 388.7 km perigee height.
Details via

19 June
The propellant transfer to the ISS tanks took place. In addition, Russian crewmembers — Oleg Kononenko, Gennady Padalka and Sergei Revin — spent ~90 min cancelling 110 ATV-3 Edoardo Amaldi envelopes with a Russian ISS stamp showing the current date (plus the octagonal ISS stamp). 
Details via

Oleg Kononenko in ATV-3

Oleg Kononenko in ATV-3. Credits: NASA

18 June
ATV propellant transfer: ATV tanks and lines were prepared by mission controllers at ATV-CC in Toulouse for a scheduled propellant transfer set for 19 June.
Details via

11 June
NASA astronaut Joe Acaba spent an hour on ATV-3 cargo operations (unpacking cargo into stowage) and bag cleaning, i.e., stowing discarded bags and foam packing material in ATV.
Details via

6 June
Russian cosmonaut Gennady Padalka set up a water transfer hose and transferred water from Tank 1 of ATV’s Water Delivery System (WDS) to a water container.
Details via

5 June
More ATV cargo operations, this time with ESA astronaut André Kuipers and NASA’s Joe Acaba.
Details via

1 June
Using the Sound Level Meter (SLM), NASA Flight Engineer Don Pettit conducted a periodic acoustic survey of several ISS modules, taking a total of 54 measurements. General background noise measurements were taken in the ATV-3 (4 locations), the Russian service module (12), Node-3 (8), Node-1 (5), US Lab (10), Node-2 (10), Kibo (5).
Details via

Upcoming events

Soyuz by André Kuipers

André’s Soyuz that will bring him home.

Note: As always, with an operational mission, these are subject to change:

  • 28 June: Water transfer
  • 29-30 June, 01-02 July: Propulsive support for Soyuz 29S undocking (The flight that will bring ESA’s André Kuipers home!)
  • Sep – Nominal undocking (may be extended by some weeks)

Reintegration of RECS

With regards to the power anomaly, we have some good news from Massimo:

Editor’s note: On 30 March, the command path to one of four RICU units (part of the RECS system that also supports the ATV-to-ISS electrical interface) failed. Later, a second back-up RECS chain was successfully switched on to take over the lost command path and the ATV-to-ISS power bus connection was restored 31 March.
Details via

A number of in-orbit measurements performed by the ISS crew on 4 June have confirmed that the POTOK equipment did not play any role in the 30 March RECS failure. Therefore, ATV does not need to be ‘electrically isolated’ any longer from the ISS when MCC Moscow activates Potok in the Russian Service Module. The primary RECS chain (that was switched off due to the failure) has been reintegrated on 5 June, thus restoring full redundancy of the ATV electrical connection to the ISS. Engineering investigations to understand what actually happened and why RECS experienced a failure in March are on-going with the active contribution of our Russian colleagues.