Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Jules Verne ATV atop launcher

28.02.2008
Jules Verne, the first Automated Transfer Vehicle, has been encapsulated in its huge fairing on top of the Ariane 5 launcher. With a total mass of about 19 360 kg, Jules Verne is the largest payload ever launched by Ariane 5. This historical mission with the first European space supplier for the ISS is scheduled for a night time launch on 8 March at 04.23 UT.

In mid-February, Jules Verne Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV), having been filled with a total of 6.5 tonnes of four different propellants and 20 kg of oxygen, was transferred in a payload container from the S5 building to the Ariane 5 Final Assembly Building at Europe's Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana. Since then, Ariane 5 and ATV have been undergoing a complex combined operations plan.

The 19.4-tonne Jules Verne mass represents more than twice the heaviest single payload Ariane 5 has ever lifted in the past, including Envisat, ESA's 8-tonne environment satellite. To handle such a heavyweight, the Vehicle Equipment Bay which supports the ATV on top of the launcher, has been structurally redesigned and strengthened.

Through the upper level of the Final Assembly Building - the so-called 'chimney' - the cylindrical ATV was installed on top of Ariane 5 and carefully bolted to the launcher interface.

“Seeing the fairing encapsulation on Jules Verne was on the one hand a very exciting step in the final countdown to launch. On the other hand it was rather sad as we all knew we will not see again on Earth our old friend who we have been working with so closely over so many years,” said John Ellwood, ESA's ATV Project Manager.

During the coming week all connections – electrical, pyrotechnical and fluid interfaces – will be checked on ATV and Ariane 5. The entire spacecraft will be activated to check the spacecraft’s 'health', and to charge the batteries once again.

The entire cylindrical vehicle with its numerous protuberances, thrusters and antennas has been carefully covered with a white insulating foil layer (MLI / Multi Layer Insulator). This blanket thermally protects the ATV from the enormous temperature changes in orbit. Like a huge white thermal flask, the foil layer also keeps the interior of the vehicle at a constant temperature.

The exterior of the spacecraft has been thoroughly vacuum cleaned, removing every last small part or flake which could float around the ATV once the European vessel is in orbit. About 250 small 'remove before flight' flags and red covers were taken off one by one as each associated action was completed; including the protective covers on Jules Verne's rendezvous optical sensors.

On 25 February, after extensive checks and visual inspection of the ATV, the largest Ariane 5 fairing – a version measuring 17 metres in height and weighing 2500 kg – was successfully installed over the ATV. Besides the large Arianespace team in charge of the launcher, some 50 people from Astrium and its subcontractors (Thales Alenia Space, RSC Energia) and ESA have supported the integration of ATV over the last few weeks.

“The campaign has been very successful with no major issues and has kept perfectly to a tight schedule. Most of our teams have worked on two 8-hour shifts, six days a week. Some of the engineers and technicians have worked on this programme for 6 to 10 years. It was an emotional moment when the ATV was covered with its fairing. The next time anyone will see Jules Verne ATV, it will be in orbit for rendezvous in the first days of April”, said Nicolas Chamussy, ATV Programme Manager for EADS Astrium.

One week before launch, all the launch teams and different control centres around the world will simulate a full 10-hour countdown to lift-off with the real Ariane 5 and ATV vehicle. After the launch onboard Ariane 5, the ATV's high-precision navigation system will guide the spacecraft to the International Space Station, with docking planned in early April.

Markus Bauer | alfa
Further information:
http://www.esa.int/SPECIALS/ATV/SEM32OJ26DF_0.html

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht A two-atom quantum duet
12.11.2018 | Institute for Basic Science

nachricht Improving understanding of how the Solar System is formed
12.11.2018 | Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main

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: A Leap Into Quantum Technology

Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.

In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...

Im Focus: Research icebreaker Polarstern begins the Antarctic season

What does it look like below the ice shelf of the calved massive iceberg A68?

On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.

Im Focus: Penn engineers develop ultrathin, ultralight 'nanocardboard'

When choosing materials to make something, trade-offs need to be made between a host of properties, such as thickness, stiffness and weight. Depending on the application in question, finding just the right balance is the difference between success and failure

Now, a team of Penn Engineers has demonstrated a new material they call "nanocardboard," an ultrathin equivalent of corrugated paper cardboard. A square...

Im Focus: Coping with errors in the quantum age

Physicists at ETH Zurich demonstrate how errors that occur during the manipulation of quantum system can be monitored and corrected on the fly

The field of quantum computation has seen tremendous progress in recent years. Bit by bit, quantum devices start to challenge conventional computers, at least...

Im Focus: Nanorobots propel through the eye

Scientists developed specially coated nanometer-sized vehicles that can be actively moved through dense tissue like the vitreous of the eye. So far, the transport of nano-vehicles has only been demonstrated in model systems or biological fluids, but not in real tissue. The work was published in the journal Science Advances and constitutes one step further towards nanorobots becoming minimally-invasive tools for precisely delivering medicine to where it is needed.

Researchers of the “Micro, Nano and Molecular Systems” Lab at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems in Stuttgart, together with an international...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

“3rd Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP 2018” Attracts International Experts and Users

09.11.2018 | Event News

On the brain’s ability to find the right direction

06.11.2018 | Event News

European Space Talks: Weltraumschrott – eine Gefahr für die Gesellschaft?

23.10.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

In focus: Peptides, the “little brothers and sisters” of proteins

12.11.2018 | Life Sciences

Materials scientist creates fabric alternative to batteries for wearable devices

12.11.2018 | Materials Sciences

A two-atom quantum duet

12.11.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>