The in-flight Collision Avoidance Manoeuvre, or CAM, demonstration was necessary to prove that the spacecraft could reliably move away from the ISS in case of any problems during the final rendezvous and docking with the International Space Station. Upon detection of a critical failure or an unsafe situation, the spacecraft's Monitoring and Safing Unit (MSU) is designed to isolate the ATV's nominal systems and issue a CAM command.
"It went perfectly - the MSU commanded ATV exactly as expected. After that, we had a perfect recovery of the spacecraft, from sun-pointing safe mode, and we reset the on-board computers. ATV is back in cruise mode," said Alberto Novelli, ESA's Mission Director at the ATV Control Centre in Toulouse, France.
The complex procedure involved shutting down all of the normal control systems and placing the spacecraft into 'last-chance' survival mode. After the manoeuvre was positively demonstrated and confirmed, controllers implemented a lengthy 'exit-from-survival' recovery process that brought all systems back into nominal operation.
"The performance was absolutely flawless. We know now that it is completely safe for us to go to the Station because we always have an independent way to get away from it. This demonstrates that our back-up 'spacecraft within a spacecraft' works perfectly - it's good to have this tool in our back pocket," said John Ellwood, ESA's ATV Project Manager.
An enhanced team of some 60 mission controllers from ESA and French space agency CNES watched this morning's test intently from the ATV Control Centre. If any problems had occurred during survival mode, it would have been very difficult to recover the spacecraft.
"This independent mode relies on separate computers, separate software, separate batteries, separate trajectory monitoring sensors and separate thrusters. The only item shared with the ATV's main system is propellant," explained ESA astronaut Jean-François Clervoy, senior advisor to the ATV project.
The test was conducted with ATV orbiting well away from the ISS, and included a 200-second thruster burn, which took place as the spacecraft passed over northern Africa. A final orbit determination will be done later today.
The CAM demonstration was also monitored closely by ESA's ISS partners, with NASA operations personnel seated on console in the ATV Control Centre. The US and Russian ISS control centres and ESA's Columbus Control Centre also monitored the test. One important result of the demonstration was to prove to the partners that the CAM functionality was reliable and could assure the safety of the Station and crew members. The CAM demonstration results are now being analysed by the ISS partners.
Additional demonstrations of Jules Verne's functionality are scheduled later in the month, with actual rendezvous and docking planned for 3 April 2008.
Markus Bauer | alfa
Meteoritic stardust unlocks timing of supernova dust formation
19.01.2018 | Carnegie Institution for Science
Artificial agent designs quantum experiments
19.01.2018 | Universität Innsbruck
On the way to an intelligent laboratory, physicists from Innsbruck and Vienna present an artificial agent that autonomously designs quantum experiments. In initial experiments, the system has independently (re)discovered experimental techniques that are nowadays standard in modern quantum optical laboratories. This shows how machines could play a more creative role in research in the future.
We carry smartphones in our pockets, the streets are dotted with semi-autonomous cars, but in the research laboratory experiments are still being designed by...
What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...
For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.
Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...
At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.
No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...
Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) and Tohoku University have developed high-quality GFO epitaxial films and systematically investigated their ferroelectric and ferromagnetic properties. They also demonstrated the room-temperature magnetocapacitance effects of these GFO thin films.
Multiferroic materials show magnetically driven ferroelectricity. They are attracting increasing attention because of their fascinating properties such as...
08.01.2018 | Event News
11.12.2017 | Event News
08.12.2017 | Event News
19.01.2018 | Materials Sciences
19.01.2018 | Health and Medicine
19.01.2018 | Physics and Astronomy