Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

European communication equipment for the ATV and the Eneide mission reaches the ISS

03.03.2005


Preparations for the arrival of "Jules Verne", the first European Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV), and those for ESA astronaut Roberto Vittori’s mission, took a step forward when the unmanned Russian cargo spacecraft Progress M-52 docked yesterday, 2 March at 21.10 Central European Time (CET) with the International Space Station (ISS).



Launched two days earlier, on 28 February at 20.09 CET from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan by a Soyuz rocket as ISS mission 17P, the Progress supply vehicle carried, among other cargo, a communication system made in Europe that will be used when the ATV docks with the station in 2006. The "Proximity Communication Equipment" (PCE) will provide S-band data communication between the ISS and the ATV during the last 30 kilometres before the ATV docks. It consists of two communication assemblies which are fully redundant. The system was developed and integrated under ESA contract by EADS Astrium in Toulouse, France.

Prior to its integration into the Progress vehicle, the complete PCE was checked out from 7 to 11 February by a combined ESA, industry and Russian team at the launch site in Baikonur. The equipment will be installed by the two astronauts who are now living and working in the Russian laboratory and habitation module "Zvezda", where the ATV will dock. The complete system will then be tested on the ISS in early April.


The PCE will transmit to the ATV the position data obtained from the global positioning system (GPS) on board the ISS so that the ATV knows its position relative to the station throughout the approach phase up to a distance of 500m, at which point the ATV will switch from GPS navigation mode to a laser navigation mode, using a telegoniometer and a videometer for the final phase, in which docking equipment made in Russia will be used.

"The ATV is the most complex and innovative spaceship ever developed and built in Europe," says John Ellwood, ESA’s project manager for the ATV. "The first flight model, named after French science fiction author Jules Verne, is currently undergoing extensive tests at the ESA test facilities at the European Space Technology and Research Centre (ESTEC) in Noordwijk, the Netherlands.

There, under the responsibility of the industrial main contractor, EADS Space Transportation of Les Mureaux, France, a large number of tests are being performed to verify the ATV’s compatibility with the electromagnetic, acoustic and thermal environment and the space vacuum in which it will operate. This phase also serves to verify and practice certain operational procedures, such as accessing the cargo transported by the ATV. On completion of the tests, the ATV will be transported by sea to Kourou, French Guiana, from where it is to be launched by an Ariane 5 in early 2006."

The Progress also carried the scientific equipment for seven experiments to be carried out by ESA astronaut Roberto Vittori during his mission to the ISS from 15 to 24 April: Agrospace, ASIA, ETD, Hand Posture Analyser, Lazio, Microspace and SPQR.

Agrospace in fact consists of two separate experiments: one in which beans will be germinated in space at the same time as others are germinated by students in classrooms on Earth and another, also related to plant germination, to evaluate the feasibility of producing vegetable sprouts in space for consumption by the crew.

ASIA, which stands for Analysis Experimentation Implementation Algorithms, will verify the capability of a high-performance computer board to withstand the space radiation environment in order to evaluate its possible utilisation in satellites of future generations.

ETD will measure the orientation of Listing’s plane with an eye-tracking device. Listing’s plane is the name of the coordinate framework which describes the movement of the eyes in the head. On Earth it appears to be dependent on inputs from the body’s vestibular system which controls the body’s balance, orientation and posture. It is fundamental for scientists to understand how the vestibular system adapts to weightlessness and how this relates to the occurrence of space sickness.

The results of the Hand Posture Analyser experiment can help to find methods of countering fatigue that can have major effects on the hand and forearms of astronauts in weightlessness. Such methods can then also be used on Earth for the treatment of patients with local trauma, muscle atrophy or diseases of the central nervous system.

Lazio, the name of the region around Rome, is also an acronym for Low-Altitude Zone Ionising Observatory. This experiment will study the space radiation and magnetic environment inside the ISS, in particular with regard to the “light flashes” phenomenon. It will also assess the effectiveness of different shielding materials in reducing the radiation environment. This will be the first test in space of a sensor capable of high-accuracy monitoring of the short-term stability of the Van Allen belts, to study the possibility of earthquake-related precursor phenomena as was initially suggested by Russian scientists about two decades ago.

The Microspace experiment will study the responses of microbial life to environmental factors in a space vehicle. Different microbial strains will be flown to the ISS in order to study the effects of space radiation and weightlessness on the cultures. It may improve our understanding of the basic biology of microorganisms.

SPQR, for 2000 years the classical acronym for the Senate and People of Rome (Senatus Populusque Romanus in Latin) has taken on a new meaning for the Eneide mission: Specular Point-like Quick Reference. The experiment will test a ground-based imaging system, using special optics and image processing, to determine the feasibility of detecting external damage to a spacecraft in orbit from the ground. It will be based on a Cube Corner Reflector, fixed close to an ISS window, which will reflect a laser beam emitted by a ground station.

Dieter Isakeit | alfa
Further information:
http://www.esa.int/esaCP/SEMVCED3M5E_index_0.html
http://www.esa.int

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Gamma rays will reach beyond the limits of light
23.10.2017 | Chalmers University of Technology

nachricht Creation of coherent states in molecules by incoherent electrons
23.10.2017 | Tata Institute of Fundamental Research

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Salmonella as a tumour medication

HZI researchers developed a bacterial strain that can be used in cancer therapy

Salmonellae are dangerous pathogens that enter the body via contaminated food and can cause severe infections. But these bacteria are also known to target...

Im Focus: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event

On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

3rd Symposium on Driving Simulation

23.10.2017 | Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Microfluidics probe 'cholesterol' of the oil industry

23.10.2017 | Life Sciences

Gamma rays will reach beyond the limits of light

23.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

The end of pneumonia? New vaccine offers hope

23.10.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>