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 Only an atom thick: Physicists succeed in measuring mechanical properties of 2D monolayer materials
17.01.2018 | Universität des Saarlandes

nachricht Black hole spin cranks-up radio volume
15.01.2018 | National Institutes of Natural Sciences

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: Scientists decipher key principle behind reaction of metalloenzymes

So-called pre-distorted states accelerate photochemical reactions too

What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...

Im Focus: The first precise measurement of a single molecule's effective charge

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...

Im Focus: Paradigm shift in Paris: Encouraging an holistic view of laser machining

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...

Im Focus: Room-temperature multiferroic thin films and their properties

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...

Im Focus: A thermometer for the oceans

Measurement of noble gases in Antarctic ice cores

The oceans are the largest global heat reservoir. As a result of man-made global warming, the temperature in the global climate system increases; around 90% of...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

10th International Symposium: “Advanced Battery Power – Kraftwerk Batterie” Münster, 10-11 April 2018

08.01.2018 | Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Gran Chaco: Biodiversity at High Risk

17.01.2018 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation

Only an atom thick: Physicists succeed in measuring mechanical properties of 2D monolayer materials

17.01.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Fraunhofer HHI receives AIS Technology Innovation Award 2018 for 3D Human Body Reconstruction

17.01.2018 | Awards Funding

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>