Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Europe's space freighter: ATV Johannes Kepler operating flawlessly

Date:
February 17, 2011
Source:
European Space Agency
Summary:
Following a spectacular launch on Feb. 16, Europe's space freighter is now in its planned orbit. Mission controllers are preparing to match its trajectory with that of the International Space Station, where it will dock seven days from now.

Launch of ATV-2 seen from space.
Credit: ESA

Following a spectacular launch on Feb. 16, Europe's space freighter is now in its planned orbit. Mission controllers are preparing to match its trajectory with that of the International Space Station, where it will dock seven days from now.

After a one-day launch delay, ESA's next Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV), Johannes Kepler, lifted off on an Ariane 5 launcher from Europe's Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, at 21:50 GMT. A few minutes later, the vessel attained its initial operational orbit at 260 km altitude. Mission controllers immediately began checking out the spacecraft and ensuring that programmed sequences -- including deployment of ATV's four large solar wings -- had correctly taken place.

In-flight communication via relay satellites

ATV has established communications with its control centre in Toulouse, France, sending data and information via NASA's Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System, a constellation of satellites that provides full-time communications with the International Space Station.

Flight dynamics experts on the joint ESA-CNES (French space agency) team in the control centre also carried out the first orbit determination, precisely fixing ATV's position and trajectory in space.

This was done initially using the on-board startrackers and later via GPS satellite signals.

This information is being used to plan and conduct the first of a series of 'phasing manoeuvres'. This complex set of thruster burns will start raising ATV's altitude to that of the Station, currently about 350 km. By Feb. 24, ATV will be just 30 km behind the Station.

"We had an excellent orbit injection thanks to Ariane, and the spacecraft itself is performing flawlessly. With the one-day launch delay, docking with the ISS is now set for one day later than initially planned, now on 24 February," said ESA's Alberto Novelli, Head of the ATV Operations Division.

Arrival at ISS set for Feb. 24

In 2008, after the launch of the first ATV, Jules Verne, the vessel spent almost three weeks performing a series of test manoeuvres to prove its automated docking system worked as expected.

"This time, we have a proven spacecraft and an experienced team, so we'll get up to Station in just about a week," said Alberto.

Operating ATV requires an extended 'team of teams' spread around several establishments across Europe.

In addition to ESA and CNES personnel at the Toulouse centre, ESA specialists at the Agency's ESTEC technical centre, in the Netherlands, and at ESOC, the European Space Operations Centre, Germany, are supporting the mission.

ESA's Columbus Control Centre, near Munich, jointly staffed by ESA and DLR, the German Aerospace Center, is also involved in ATV operations, as are numerous experts from the industrial partners that build ATV.

"ATV is a truly European spacecraft. Flying it requires experts from ESA, partner agencies and industry across half a dozen countries," said ESA's Bob Chesson, Head of the Human Spaceflight Operations Department.

"Getting it built, into orbit and operating it in flight to docking requires a lot of hard work and dedication from hundreds of people."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by European Space Agency. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

European Space Agency. "Europe's space freighter: ATV Johannes Kepler operating flawlessly." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 February 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110217104949.htm>.
European Space Agency. (2011, February 17). Europe's space freighter: ATV Johannes Kepler operating flawlessly. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110217104949.htm
European Space Agency. "Europe's space freighter: ATV Johannes Kepler operating flawlessly." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110217104949.htm (accessed April 23, 2014).

Share This



More Space & Time News

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Nuclear-Level Asteroids Might Be More Common Than We Realize

Nuclear-Level Asteroids Might Be More Common Than We Realize

Newsy (Apr. 23, 2014) The B612 Foundation says asteroids strike Earth much more often than previously thought, and are hoping to build an early warning system. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
NASA Chief Outlines Plan for Human Mission to Mars

NASA Chief Outlines Plan for Human Mission to Mars

AFP (Apr. 22, 2014) NASA administrator Charles Bolden, speaking at the 'Human to Mars Summit' in Washington, says that learning more about the Red Planet can help answer the 'fundamental question' of 'life beyond Earth'. Duration: 00:48 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Nasa Gives You An Excuse to Post a Selfie on Earth Day

Nasa Gives You An Excuse to Post a Selfie on Earth Day

TheStreet (Apr. 22, 2014) NASA is inviting all social media users to take a selfie of themselves alongside nature and to post it to Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, Instagram, or Google Plus with the hashtag #globalselfie. NASA's goal is to crowd-source a collection of snapshots of the earth, ground-up, that will be used to create one "unique mosaic of the Blue Marble." This image will be available to all in May. Since this is probably one of the few times posting a selfie to Twitter won't be embarrassing, we suggest you give it a go for a good cause. Video provided by TheStreet
Powered by NewsLook.com
SpaceX's Dragon Spacecraft Captured by International Space Station

SpaceX's Dragon Spacecraft Captured by International Space Station

Reuters - US Online Video (Apr. 20, 2014) SpaceX's unmanned Dragon spacecraft makes a scheduled Easter Sunday rendezvous with the International Space Station. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins