Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Crew oxygen for ISS loaded on Jules Verne

29.01.2008
Three weeks into delicate fuelling operations, Jules Verne Automated Transfer Vehicle has also been successfully loaded with oxygen. In orbit this will be transferred to the International Space Station's atmosphere for the crew to breathe.

The maiden voyage of the first European International Space Station (ISS) resupply spaceship is targeted for no earlier than 22 February.

Since early January, the launch campaign of the Jules Verne Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) has intensified with the month-long loading operations. These operations take place in the huge fuelling chamber inside the vast S5 integration building at Europe's Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana.

Teams from Astrium sites in Bremen, Lampoldshausen (Germany), Stevenage (United Kingdom) and Les Mureaux (France) are in charge of these time-consuming and delicate operations. Wearing special protective suits, the teams work in three shifts. Specialists from Thales Alenia Space, Italy, are involved in loading the highly explosive pure oxygen gas.

“The engineers first created a vacuum in the ATV gas tank and its circuit. Then, after checking the system is leak-proof, they connected the oxygen tank to transfer the gas,” said Dominique Siruguet, ESA ATV Campaign Manager. “But before this, they had to implement many strict safety procedures and create a very clean environment. This is all time consuming but necessary to avoid any risk with the highly explosive and flammable oxygen.”

Many of the safety measures are needed to prevent any hydrocarbon particles from entering the on board and ground equipment, where they would present a fire risk. For this operation, a team of certified experts, different from the ‘scapemen’ who perform the propellant fuelling, wear white non-flammable suits to handle the oxygen.

Four-tonne limit

From now until the end of the month, the largest quantity of propellant will be loaded on board Jules Verne: around 2 200 kg of MMH (Monomethylhydrazine) and 3 600 kg MON3 (Mixed Oxides of Nitrogen) propellant which will be used by ATV’s own propulsion system.

ATV will use these propellants for its autonomous navigation towards the International Space Station (ISS) and, once docked, to contribute to the Station's attitude and orbit control, including re-boost of the whole space complex. Already around 860 kg of nitrogen tetroxide oxidiser (N2O4) and Russian produced UDMH (Unsymmetrical dimehtylhydrazine) have been stored on board ATV.

With the amount of propellant in ATV about to exceed 4 tonnes, the safety rules at the Spaceport prohibit working on other satellites or spacecraft within the perimeter of the S5 integration building.

"In the first week of February, Jules Verne ATV – filled with a total 6.5 tonnes of four different propellants and 20 kg of oxygen – will be moved to the Final Assembly Building [BAF - Batiment d’Assemblage Final] where it will be mated to the Ariane 5 launcher. We then enter the Ariane 5/ATV 'combined operations plan', which ends with the final countdown," explains Nicolas Chamussy, ATV Programme Manager for EADS Astrium.

The whole Jules Verne ATV weighs 19.4 tonnes, including approximately 1 338 kg of ‘dry cargo’. During fuelling and oxygen operations, the ATV is electrically completely shut down for safety reasons. Each day the whole spacecraft is activated to check the spacecraft’s ‘health’, and charge the batteries once again.

Once in orbit, the 20 kg of oxygen carried up by Jules Verne ATV, is manually injected by the crew into the ISS atmosphere. For up to six months, the ATV remains attached, mostly in dormant mode with the hatch to the ISS open.

With the ATV docked, the Station crew can enter the cargo section and remove the payload: supplies, science hardware, and lightweight luggage bags. Meanwhile, the ATV's liquid tanks are connected to the Station's own plumbing and their propellant contents discharged.

According to the needs of the ISS and its partners, the ATV remains an integral Station element for up to six months, and delivers dry cargo, fuel, water and oxygen to the ISS.

Markus Bauer | alfa
Further information:
http://www.esa.int/SPECIALS/ATV/SEMFHO22VBF_0.html

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht A new force for optical tweezers awakens
19.06.2019 | University of Gothenburg

nachricht View of the Earth in front of the Sun
19.06.2019 | Georg-August-Universität Göttingen

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: Successfully Tested in Praxis: Bidirectional Sensor Technology Optimizes Laser Material Deposition

The quality of additively manufactured components depends not only on the manufacturing process, but also on the inline process control. The process control ensures a reliable coating process because it detects deviations from the target geometry immediately. At LASER World of PHOTONICS 2019, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be demonstrating how well bi-directional sensor technology can already be used for Laser Material Deposition (LMD) in combination with commercial optics at booth A2.431.

Fraunhofer ILT has been developing optical sensor technology specifically for production measurement technology for around 10 years. In particular, its »bd-1«...

Im Focus: The hidden structure of the periodic system

The well-known representation of chemical elements is just one example of how objects can be arranged and classified

The periodic table of elements that most chemistry books depict is only one special case. This tabular overview of the chemical elements, which goes back to...

Im Focus: MPSD team discovers light-induced ferroelectricity in strontium titanate

Light can be used not only to measure materials’ properties, but also to change them. Especially interesting are those cases in which the function of a material can be modified, such as its ability to conduct electricity or to store information in its magnetic state. A team led by Andrea Cavalleri from the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter in Hamburg used terahertz frequency light pulses to transform a non-ferroelectric material into a ferroelectric one.

Ferroelectricity is a state in which the constituent lattice “looks” in one specific direction, forming a macroscopic electrical polarisation. The ability to...

Im Focus: Determining the Earth’s gravity field more accurately than ever before

Researchers at TU Graz calculate the most accurate gravity field determination of the Earth using 1.16 billion satellite measurements. This yields valuable knowledge for climate research.

The Earth’s gravity fluctuates from place to place. Geodesists use this phenomenon to observe geodynamic and climatological processes. Using...

Im Focus: Tube anemone has the largest animal mitochondrial genome ever sequenced

Discovery by Brazilian and US researchers could change the classification of two species, which appear more akin to jellyfish than was thought.

The tube anemone Isarachnanthus nocturnus is only 15 cm long but has the largest mitochondrial genome of any animal sequenced to date, with 80,923 base pairs....

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

SEMANTiCS 2019 brings together industry leaders and data scientists in Karlsruhe

29.04.2019 | Event News

Revered mathematicians and computer scientists converge with 200 young researchers in Heidelberg!

17.04.2019 | Event News

First dust conference in the Central Asian part of the earth’s dust belt

15.04.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

A new force for optical tweezers awakens

19.06.2019 | Physics and Astronomy

New AI system manages road infrastructure via Google Street View

19.06.2019 | Information Technology

A new manufacturing process for aluminum alloys

19.06.2019 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>