"We started from scratch to build the technical interfaces, the ground control systems and the working relationships. The only way to make this work is through cooperation," says Alberto Novelli, Head of Mission Operations at the Automated Transfer Vehicle Control Centre (ATV CC) in Toulouse, France.
Novelli and his team from ESA's Operation directorate are responsible for overseeing the safe operation of Jules Verne, the first ATV to launch to the International Space Station (ISS), now scheduled for 8 March.
ATV operations 'true trilateral effort'
"This is a major project for ESA and our industrial partners - it will perform the first fully automated ISS docking and operations are a true trilateral effort, involving ESA, NASA and ROSCOSMOS, the Russian space agency. It's also a first in the ISS programme," said Novelli.
At ATV CC, the central hub of the three-way operations effort, ESA staff and contract engineers are working closely with engineers from CNES - the French space agency - who operate ATV on behalf of ESA.
The ESA team comprises 16 engineers, trainers, mission directors and support personnel working at Toulouse, joined by an additional six specialists who work on background development of ground segment infrastructure.
NASA, ROSCOSMOS representatives on-site
The team are also supported by resident NASA and ROSCOSMOS representatives, who sit on console with their ESA/CNES colleagues to ensure that the other control centres involved in ATV - NASA's Mission Control Center in Houston and Russia's centre in Moscow - are kept fully 'connected' to ATV operations.
The agencies have also set up an ATV Joint Operations Working Group, a three-way forum at the Flight Director level.
The ESA operations team was put in place at ATV CC starting in 2003, and - together with their colleagues from CNES - the team has spent the past year in a particularly gruelling series of simulations, training sessions and procedure validations, working up to full readiness for 8 March 2008, when ATV is scheduled to be launched on board an Ariane 5 from ESA's Spaceport in Kourou.
In just the past few months, the three control centres (ATV, Houston and Moscow) have completed a demanding series of joint simulations, including four rendezvous (two simulations went all the way to docking), one docking simulation, one undocking and two reboosts (in which the ATV's engine is used to boost the ISS).
Further joint simulations were held on 1 and 8 February.
ESA Corporate Communication Offi | alfa
Defining the backbone of future mobile internet access
21.07.2017 | IHP - Leibniz-Institut für innovative Mikroelektronik
Researchers create new technique for manipulating polarization of terahertz radiation
20.07.2017 | Brown University
Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.
For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...
What is the mass of a proton? Scientists from Germany and Japan successfully did an important step towards the most exact knowledge of this fundamental constant. By means of precision measurements on a single proton, they could improve the precision by a factor of three and also correct the existing value.
To determine the mass of a single proton still more accurate – a group of physicists led by Klaus Blaum and Sven Sturm of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear...
The research team of Prof. Dr. Oliver Einsle at the University of Freiburg's Institute of Biochemistry has long been exploring the functioning of nitrogenase....
A one trillion tonne iceberg - one of the biggest ever recorded -- has calved away from the Larsen C Ice Shelf in Antarctica, after a rift in the ice,...
Physics supports biology: Researchers from PTB have developed a model system to investigate friction phenomena with atomic precision
Friction: what you want from car brakes, otherwise rather a nuisance. In any case, it is useful to know as precisely as possible how friction phenomena arise –...
21.07.2017 | Event News
19.07.2017 | Event News
12.07.2017 | Event News
21.07.2017 | Earth Sciences
21.07.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering
21.07.2017 | Physics and Astronomy