We received a note today from ESA’s Benoit Demelenne, Head of the Spacecraft Operations team at Redu Centre. Benoit wrote:

This e-mail just to inform you that Redu will support the ATV-4 mission as we did the previous one; we will relay telemetry (TM) and telecommands (TC) from the ATV Control Centre in Toulouse via ESA’s Artemis data relay satellite. The first acquisition of signal from ATV-4 by Artemis and Redu is expected on 5 June at 23:40 UTC (06 June at 01:40 CEST).

Artemis control room at Redu Centre Credit: ESA/B. Demelenne

Artemis control room at Redu Centre Credit: ESA/B. Demelenne

Benoit agreed to answer a few questions for the blog:

What TM will you relay?

We relay ATV TM via Artemis, Redu and Col-CC. Artemis is used in parallel with NASA’s TDRSS relay satellite system; we provide exactly the same service as TDRSS. During the free-flying phase before and after docking, ATV uses both TDRSS and Artemis. During the attached phase, Artemis is the prime means of telecommunication and it relays TM and TC in each orbit. For critical phases during the attached phase, TDRSS is also used in complement to Artemis.

How is this different than the relay being performed by TDRSS??

It is exactly the same support with the advantage that via Artemis, the ATV-CC flight control teams can switch automatically from one bit rate to the other and in case of problems with the TDRSS system, Artemis is immediately available when ATV is in visibility.

Is the Artemis link ‘live’ throughout LEOP – as well as during the attached phase?

Yes, we in Redu will receive the ATV TM via Artemis and could, on request, immediately support telecommanding. Artemis is fully booked for the night of the launch.

More details on Artemis support to the ATV missions

Artemis: the ATV whisperer