European space transporter ATV successfully docked to International Space Station ISS
OHB Group playing a material role in the development of the ATV fleet
After a rendezvous and docking maneuver lasting just under three hours, the first European Automatic Transfer Vehicle ATV today reached its destination. At 16.45 hours CEST, the “Jules Verne”, as the ATV is called, docked onto the Russian Swesda module of the International Space Station ISS. The transporter is carrying a good five tons of supplies and fuel. In addition, it will be nudging the space station in a necessary correction to its orbit. Jules Verne is the first Automatic Transfer Vehicle built by ESA to carry supplies to the International Space Station ISS. Launched on March 9 on board an Ariane 5, it has been undergoing extensive testing to ensure that as the pioneer in the fleet it is fully operational and capable of being navigated.
In space, the ATV is exposed to the risk of damage by micrometeorites and other debris. To avoid this risk, it is fitted with protection shields supplied by OHB. As well as this, OHB is producing the cable harnesses for the drive levels of the ATV. Roughly 5,000 meters of cable with 10,000 contacts spread across more than 600 plugs connect the ATV computers with the valves, motors and relays of the drives.
The Jules Verne mission is expected to be completed in August 2008, when the transporter will return to earth carrying roughly six tons of waste in a controlled descent into the atmosphere, where it will be incinerated above the South Pacific. At this stage, a further five missions are planned through to 2013.