As you search around the Web for news on ATV, you'll find various descriptions - and differing values - for the "S" station-keeping points near the ISS. The S-numbers correspond to specific locations in space through which the ATV will pass or at which ATV will perform some action (details under 'Full story'). -- Daniel
Benoit Demelenne, head of the Redu Spacecraft Operations Team at ESA's Redu tracking station, sent in this email yesterday. Note that Artemis is ESA's own relay satellite, and in addition to supporting ATV, it is used to receive data from ESA's hugely successful Envisat mission (more info including links after the jump). -- Daniel
"Following the successful launch of ATV at 05:03 on Sunday, the Artemis relay satellite acquired telemetry signals from ATV at 06:45:58 as planned. The data were received via the Artemis feeder link antenna at Redu station and were passed on to ATV-CC at Toulouse. So far, 9 passes were supported for a total of more than 6 hours of telemetry and telecommand support. All activity here has been completely nominal."
These from the ESA info pack prepared a few days ago - we had a discussion last night on the Ariane launch capacity; the thread starts here. -- Daniel
Why is the ATV launched on an Ariane 5ES instead of an ECA?
The ATV missions require several ignitions of the upper stage, first to circularize the orbit and then achieve a safe re-entry of the stage. At this time, such multiple ignitions cannot be done with the ESC-A stage as the HM-7B engine cannot be restarted. A re-ignition test on a similar upper stage is planned on an Ariane 5 mission prior to ATV launch.
Are there new requirements on the launcher (hardware and software) as the ATV is more than twice heavier than any payload composite ever flown on Ariane 5?
The main improvement is the introduction of a reinforced equipment bay structure to withstand the loads. The lower part of the launcher remains unchanged. In addition, numerous tests have been conducted on the EPS upper stage’s Aestus engine. As usual for any Ariane 5 mission, mission-specific flight software will be used to take in consideration the different centre of gravity and other specifications.
A very interesting video! This clip shows a Russian Progress vessel approaching the ISS for docking on 7 Feb 2008 (Progress mission M-63). It was recorded at MCC-M Moscow from the Russian video docking system, with the camera mounted inside Progress. So what's this got to do with ATV? Click 'Full story' for details as well as to view the actual video. -- Daniel