Jules Verne creeps up on ISS
Space truck struts its stuff prior to docking
The European Space Agency's "Jules Verne" Automated Transfer Vehicle is slowly but surely creeping up on the International Space Station prior to a docking scheduled for 3 April.
The ATV space truck will today strut its stuff on the second of two "demonstration days" designed to test the rendevous tech. On Saturday, a first demo proved the vessel can perform "navigation with the ISS using relative GPS to successfully and safely manoeuvre the spacecraft to a point located 3.5 km behind the ISS and at the same orbital altitude".
John Ellwood, ESA’s ATV Project Manager, explained: "Having tested very successfully on Saturday the first part of the rendezvous, in particular using the relative GPS between that on Jules Verne and on the Russian Service Module of the ISS, we now have the go-ahead to test the second part of the rendezvous which uses the [laser-based] optical sensors. This will be very interesting, but we have a lot of confidence based on the great performance of Jules Verne during the first demonstration day."
The Jules Verne is due to start its second demonstration at 14:26 CEST (12:26 GMT) today, and "approach to a point just 11m away from the docking port on the Russian Service Module Zvezda".
If all goes according to plan, the ATV will dock with the ISS at 16:41 CEST (14:41 GMT) on Thursday with its load of dry goods, liquid propellant, drinking water and oxygen. ®
What's being overlooked in all this...
...is how close the ATV is to being a man-rated spacecraft. If pressurized, it could certainly serve as a taxi to the ISS; only one-way, though as it is not designed to survive re-entry. Speaking as a frustrated US-er, I wish the EU would fund a manned program; after all, you are most of the way there with the ATV, and frankly, I would like to see somebody put the boot up NASA's rear.
As for the sadly non-existent UK manned program, you can have the Earth when the rest of us have finished with it. As far as plans for reviving the Empire go, it's a bit long term, but workable.
"(35,786km. Really, that specific eh? Above what? The perfectly smooth, flat surface of the Earth?)"
It's an altitude above mean sea level. Which yes, is a perfectly smooth flat sphere, even if it is 'imaginary'.
And there are ~3,281ft in a km & exactly 5,280ft in a mile, meaning 1 mile ~= 1.609...km. Nautical miles are different again, as was mentioned...
@@@The pedants' pedants' pedants' pedant
As you are now categorising pedants as a group and super-pedants another and so on, isn't it now appropriate to refer to them as groups of pedants, therefore requiring that the apostrophe follow the group?
BTW The Other Steve, does this make me an uber-pedant?
I'm confused, could you all be more pacific? :~)