Join the Unexplained Mysteries community today! It's free and setting up an account only takes a moment.
- Sign In or Create Account -
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
Waspie_Dwarf

ATV-4 scheduled for summer liftoff

2 posts in this topic

ATV-4 scheduled for summer liftoff

atv4dockingportandlogo.jpg

ATV-4 docking port and logo

ATV Albert Einstein at Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, with its mission logo on the wall behind. The red nose cover is removed before flight to reveal the docking mechanism that connects to the International Space Station.

When ATV Albert Einstein is ready to fly, carrying around 2380 kg of fuel and 6.6 tonnes of cargo to the Space Station, it will be launched on an Ariane 5.

Credits: ESA/CNES/Arianespace/Optique Video du CSG

11 April 2013 ESA's space freighter ATV Albert Einstein will be the heaviest spacecraft ever launched into space by an Ariane rocket when it lifts off to the International Space Station on 5 June.

Albert Einstein is the fourth in the five-vessel Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV)-series of space cargo freighters and is undergoing final integration and cargo loading at Europe's Spaceport in Kourou.

ariane5va213movingtofin.jpg

Ariane 5 VA213 moving to final assembly building

In preparation for the launch of ESA’s ATV Albert Einstein, an Ariane 5 launcher is moved to the final assembly building at Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, for the space ferry to be added on top.

Credits: ESA/CNES/Arianespace/Optique Video du CSG

It will launch on board an Ariane 5 ES launcher, delivering over 2500 kg of dry cargo to the International Space Station. It will also haul fuel, water, and oxygen to space, as well as carrying its own fuel to reboost the Station's orbit.

The total mass of ATV Albert Einstein with all its cargo is 20 235 kg, making this spacecraft the heaviest ever lofted into orbit by an Ariane rocket, beating the previous Ariane launch record by over 500 kg set last year by its predecessor ATV Edoardo Amaldi.

Most diverse cargo ever

"ATV-4 is carrying the most diverse-ever cargo mix – around 1400 different items – ranging from food, spare parts, crew supplies and clothing to scientific experiments and other vital items," says Alberto Novelli, ATV-4 mission manager.

joiningatv4.jpg

Joining ATV-4

Hoisting ATV Albert Einstein’s pressurised module at Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, ready to be lowered onto the service module that is surrounded by scaffolding. The pressurised module is used to store cargo and, once docked with the International Space Station, becomes a temporary habitable module.

Automated Transfer Vehicles (ATV) are multi-purpose unmanned ferries delivered to orbit by Europe’s Ariane 5 launcher. Each spacecraft can deliver up to 7 tonnes of cargo to the International Space Station, including supplies and equipment, water, air, nitrogen, oxygen and fuel.

Credits: ESA/CNES/Arianespace/Optique Video du CSG

"Launch is scheduled for 5 June on Ariane flight VA213, which would line us up for docking with the International Space Station on 15 June."

Teams from ESA, Arianespace and Astrium, the vessel's builder, have been working at Kourou on an intense pre-launch campaign that began the moment the two halves of ATV vessel arrived in French Guiana last September.

The spacecraft has been checked out, the two halves joined into one and fuelling is underway. ATV Albert Einstein will be hoisted to the top of its Ariane launcher in May.

Late-load cargo can be added just two weeks before launch, this year, around 620 kg of ‘last-minute’ items are expected to be shipped to the Space Station.

"Late loading offers flexible options to our partners to include critical items needed on the Space Station closer to the actual launch date" says Charlotte Beskow ESA's acting launch campaign manager in Kourou.

In parallel, the joint ESA/French space agency (CNES) flight control team at the ATV Control Centre in Toulouse, France has been doing intensive training and simulations for the mission's flight phases.

atv4loadingprocessbegin.jpg

ATV4 loading process begins

The loading process for ATV Albert Einstein begins at Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana. Liftoff is set for summer 2013. In January, the big ‘M1 cargo bags’ were loaded aboard. There is a second opportunity to load more cargo two weeks before launch, as ATV sits on top of its Ariane launcher.

Credits: ESA/CNES/Arianespace/Optique Video du CSG

"The operations teams have achieved a high degree of readiness, and we are looking forward to pass a number of milestones between now and launch," says Alberto.

"These include a series of readiness reviews with our partners in May and a final launch readiness review early in June. We are confident that our teams are ready. ATV Albert Einstein is shaping up to be a great mission."

Follow the mission live via ESA's ATV blog

arrow3.gifSource

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Full tank, please

atv4fuellingatcsg.jpg

ATV-4 fuelling at CSG

ATV Albert Einstein is fuelled at Europe's Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana. Automated Transfer Vehicles (ATVs) carry two types of propellant to the International Space Station. Aside from its own propellants, the space ferry brings propellants for the Russian Station thrusters. They are loaded in four phases – and each component is highly toxic. All non-essential personnel are cleared from the room and operators wear sealed ‘scape suits’ at all times during fuelling.

ATVs are multi-purpose unmanned ferries delivered to orbit by Europe’s Ariane 5 launcher. Each spacecraft can deliver up to 7 tonnes of cargo to the International Space Station, including supplies and equipment, water, air, nitrogen, oxygen and fuel.

Credits: ESA/CNES/Arianespace/Optique Video du CSG

16 April 2013 A fuelling operator at Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana inspects progress as ATV Albert Einstein is filled with propellant to take to the International Space Station.

Automated Transfer Vehicles (ATVs) can deliver up to 7 tonnes of cargo to the International Space Station, including supplies and equipment, water, air, nitrogen, oxygen and fuel.

As the Space Station circles Earth, it slowly loses altitude so ATVs reboost the orbit to keep it aloft. Part of ATV’s cargo includes propellants for the Station’s own thrusters to keep the orbital outpost at the right height even when no spacecraft are there to offer a helping hand.

Loading the fuel is a complex and hazardous process that takes place over many days during continuous sessions of up to 30 hours. Should there be a leak, the operators are protected by ‘scape suits’ that deliver fresh air and are sealed off from the working environment, much like diving suits.

The operators must remain vigilant at all times, constantly checking progress and signs of leaks. To make matters more complicated, ATV own propellants are different to those used by the International Space Station itself, requiring different equipment each time.

Both fuels need separate oxidisers for combustion outside of Earth’s atmosphere. The oxidisers are also loaded separately, meaning that four different liquids are being pumped into Albert Einstein’s tanks in total.

For the operator in the picture, this could have been a start of a very long day.

arrow3.gifSource

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.