Oferte Emag

Commercial Crew Development

In the same way that Boeing helped launch commercial aviation decades ago, Boeing is working to develop what could become a true commercial space transportation system: a commercial service to take crew to the International Space Station and other destinations. Show here is an artist concept of Boeing’s Crew Space Transportation (CST)-100 spacecraft approaching the International Space Station.

Europe’s ATV supply ship docks safely with Space Station

Copyright ESA

Eight days after launch, ESA’s latest Automated Transfer Vehicle, Johannes Kepler, completed a flawless rendezvous and docking with the International Space Station at 17:08 CET (16:08 GMT) to deliver essential supplies.

The approach and docking were achieved autonomously by its own computers, closely monitored by ESA and French space agency (CNES) teams at the ATV Control Centre in Toulouse, France, as well as the astronauts on the Station.

Although both ATV and the ISS orbit at 28 000 km/h, the relative speed during final approach remained below 7 cm/s and the accuracy within a few centimetres.

Johannes Kepler closed in on the ISS from behind in order to dock with Russia’s Zvezda module.

At close range, the 20-tonne unmanned spaceship computed its position through sensors pointed at laser reflectors on the Station to determine its distance and orientation relative to its target.

ATV’s docking probe was captured by the docking cone inside Zvezda’s aft end at 16:59 CET (15:59 GMT). The closure of hooks completed the docking sequence some nine minutes later.

“With this smooth docking, Johannes Kepler proves to be a great example of the wave of innovation ‘made in Europe’. We are more ready than [...]

ATV Johannes Kepler gears up for space journey

Copyright ESA

ATV-2 is almost ready for launch on 15 February from Europe’s Spaceport. It will be the heaviest load ever lofted into space by the Ariane 5 rocket, making the 200th flight of the European launcher even more spectacular.

ESA’s latest Automated Transfer Vehicle space ferry, named after the German astronomer and mathematician Johannes Kepler, is now fully fuelled, its oxygen tanks are filled and most of the cargo from ESA and NASA is placed inside.

Only last-minute cargo of up to 400 kg will be added two weeks before launch using a special access device.

While the first ATV in 2008 performed a series of demonstrations on its way to the International Space Station (ISS), Johannes Kepler will head directly to its destination.

The planned journey includes some extra days to allow for possible delays, but the docking has to take place on 26 February to meet the busy ISS schedule.

ATV will navigate, fly and dock to the Station automatically, but it will be monitored and commanded from the ATV Control Centre (ATV-CC) in Toulouse, France. Despite its mass of about 20 tonnes, the ferry can manoeuvre itself to within a few centimetres.

During the [...]

Second ATV heading to Kourou for launch

Copyright ESA

The second of ESA’s ATV automated cargo craft has been cleared for shipping to the launch site in Kourou. Its launch on an Ariane 5 to the International Space Station is scheduled for late this year.

ATV-2, named after German astronomer and mathematician Johannes Kepler, has undergone extensive system testing at EADS Astrium’s site in Bremen, Germany, over the last few months and has now been given the go-ahead for shipping. It will be dispatched to Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana in several sections, accompanied by 59 containers with test equipment. In Kourou, it will be assembled and extensively tested before being loaded with cargo and fuelled. The launch is now planned for the end of 2010.

“After an internal review of ATV Johannes Kepler, we have given Astrium ‘consent-to-ship’, which is an important milestone,” says Simonetta Di Pippo, ESA Director for Human Spaceflight.

“This demonstrates the ability of European industry under the lead of Astrium to provide the requested status of the vehicle on time and with the requested quality.”

“When the US Space Shuttle retires, ATV will be the largest vehicle supplying the ISS. Considering its technological challenges, like automatic rendezvous [...]

Russian fuel flows in Jules Vernes veins

russian-fuel-flows-in-jules-vernes-veins

Copyright ESA

Fuelling of the Jules Verne Automated Transfer Vehicle has started at Europe’s Spaceport. ATV is being loaded with Russian refuelling propellant destined for the International Space Station. After a month of fuelling operations, the launch and maiden voyage of the first European resupply spaceship is scheduled for the second half of February.

Early this month, the 20-tonne Jules Verne Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) was transferred to the huge fuelling chamber within the giant S5 integration building at Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana.

Inside the fuelling chamber, the spacecraft was prepared for loading operations, which began as scheduled on 8 January and will continue until early February.

ATV moved to S5B area

Jules Verne is moved to the fuelling chamber In cooperation with ESA’s ATV project experts and Russian engineers on site, a dozen specialised technicians from Astrium sites in Bremen, Lampoldshausen (Germany), Stevenage (United Kingdom) and Les Mureaux (France) are in charge of these time-consuming and delicate operations.

Copyright ESA

“We are pleased with how well the schedule is progressing so far. This week, as planned, two identical tanks on the ATV were successfully loaded with 296 kg of Russian UDMH (Unsymmetrical dimethylhydrazine) which is the [...]