Feeds

Jules Verne gets intimate with ISS

Successful approach to within 11 metres

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

The European Space Agency's "Jules Verne" Automated Transfer Vehicle yesterday manoevered itself to within 11 metres of the docking port of the ISS's Russian Zvezda module during a second "demonstration day" designed to test its "critical optical navigation system" prior to a scheduled docking on 3 April.

The Jules Verne seen at 246.5 metres from the ISSThe space truck, captured here at 246.5 metres from the ISS by the ESA's Docking Video System, successfully deployed its Videometer technology to autonomously approach the ISS.

Once the ATV was in its closest approach, ISS astronauts issued a "Retreat command" which sent Jules Verne back to a 19 metre point, followed by an "Escape command", which "automatically took Jules Verne to a safe location away from the ISS".*

Astrium ATV Project Manager Nicolas Chamussy enthused: "This demonstration day confirmes the performance of the vehicle is even better than we had hoped for. This is a world premier for automated rendezvous using optical sensors, following the world’s first demonstration of relative GPS navigation between Jules Verne and the Station performed on Saturday."

ESA’s ATV Project Manager John Ellwood joined the party with: "I’m known for my understatements, but the only word that comes to mind about today is impressive. It was impressive to see how Jules Verne, the staff at the ATV Control Centre, the control centres in Moscow and Houston pulled together today. It was a perfect dress-rehearsal for Thursday."

The ESA used the approach to "inspect some thermal blankets on the exterior of the spacecraft that had become degraded", but doesn't anticipate these will affect Jules Verne's docking with the ISS, starting at 16:41 CEST (14:41 GMT) on Thursday. ®

Bootnote

*While the Jules Verne is designed to operate autonomously, ISS crew have a number of override options available "if there is a serious problem during rendezvous". The ESA explains: "The crew can interrupt the ATV approach in four different ways: HOLD, RETREAT, ESCAPE or ABORT. The action to be taken depends on the type of anomaly.

"The main action to be taken by the crew in case of failures occurring at distances further away than 20 metres is to report to mission controllers. The space vehicle is sufficiently far away for the ground controllers - having access to all data and not just a limited selection, to take the best decision.

"At distances closer than 20 metres, the crew will send the ATV away using the ESCAPE mode if the ATV moves outside the approach monitoring corridor or in case of malfunctions of the safety system. ABORT has the same effect as ESCAPE but uses independent software and hardware. It is used as a last resort should the main ATV computers or piloting hardware fail completely."

Remote control for virtualized desktops

More from The Register

next story
Bond villains lament as Wicked Lasers withdraw death ray
Want to arm that shark? Better get in there quick
Antarctic ice THICKER than first feared – penguin-bot boffins
Robo-sub scans freezing waters, rocks warming models
Your PHONE is slowly KILLING YOU
Doctors find new Digitillnesses - 'text neck' and 'telepressure'
SEX BEAST SEALS may be egging each other on to ATTACK PENGUINS
Boffin: 'I think the behaviour is increasing in frequency'
Reuse the Force, Luke: SpaceX's Elon Musk reveals X-WING designs
And a floating carrier for recyclable rockets
The next big thing in medical science: POO TRANSPLANTS
Your brother's gonna die, kid, unless we can give him your, well ...
NASA launches new climate model at SC14
75 days of supercomputing later ...
Renewable energy 'simply WON'T WORK': Top Google engineers
Windmills, solar, tidal - all a 'false hope', say Stanford PhDs
Britain's HUMAN DNA-strewing Moon mission rakes in £200k
3 days, and Kickstarter moves lander 37% nearer takeoff
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Driving business with continuous operational intelligence
Introducing an innovative approach offered by ExtraHop for producing continuous operational intelligence.
10 threats to successful enterprise endpoint backup
10 threats to a successful backup including issues with BYOD, slow backups and ineffective security.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?