Feeds

Euro space truck prepares for fiery death

Johannes Kepler set for re-entry burn-up

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Space truck Johannes Kepler will today undock from the International Space Station ahead of a fiery death above the Pacific.

The European Space Agency's second Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) has done its duty and is now packed with 1200kg of waste and unwanted hardware which will be destroyed when the 10-tonne vehicle burns up on re-entry tomorrow.

The Johannes Kepler (seen below, at bottom of ISS structure*) docked with the orbiting outpost back in February, carrying 4,534kg of propellant for ISS reboost and attitude control, 1,600kg of dry cargo, 850kg of propellant for the Zvezda module and 100kg of oxygen.

The Johannes Kepler seen attached to the ISS. Pic: ESA/NASA

Its last task was to use its thrusters and some of its remaining propellant payload to raise the ISS to an altitude of 380km (236 miles).

The spacecraft will depart the station at 14:51 GMT this afternoon, and gradually distance itself from the structure. Two thruster firings tomorrow will direct it towards an uninhabited patch of South Pacific where any bits which survive the re-entry burn should hit the water at 20:50 GMT.

The Johannes Kepler docked to the ISS, seen from space shuttle Discovery. Pic: NASA

As a precaution, shipping and aircraft have been warned to steer clear of the projected impact footprint. Kris Capelle, the lead mission director at ESA's ATV control centre, told the BBC: "We know there are a few heavy parts like the thrusters, obviously, which will hit the South Pacific; they're built to withstand very high temperatures. The ATV's Russian docking system is also a very substantial piece of hardware, and part of that will probably fall into the water as well."

A third ATV, dubbed Edoardo Amaldi, is under construction ahead of a 2012 launch to the ISS. The fourth will be called Albert Einstein, the ESA recently announced. ®

Bootnote

*NASA elaborates: "This image of the International Space Station and the docked space shuttle Endeavour, flying at an altitude of approximately 220 miles, was taken by Expedition 27 crew member Paolo Nespoli from the Soyuz TMA-20 following its undocking on May 23, 2011."

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
SCREW YOU, Russia! NASA lobs $6.8bn at Boeing AND SpaceX to run space station taxis
Musk charging nearly half as much as Boeing for crew trips
Boffins say they've got Lithium batteries the wrong way around
Surprises at the nano-scale mean our ideas about how they charge could be all wrong
Thought that last dinosaur was BIG? This one's bloody ENORMOUS
Weighed several adult elephants, contend boffins
Europe prepares to INVADE comet: Rosetta landing site chosen
No word yet on whether backup site is labelled 'K'
India's MOM Mars mission makes final course correction
Mangalyaan probe will feel the burn of orbital insertion on September 24th
Cracked it - Vulture 2 power podule fires servos for 4 HOURS
Pixhawk avionics juice issue sorted, onwards to Spaceport America
City hidden beneath England's Stonehenge had HUMAN ABATTOIR. And a pub
Boozed-up ancients drank beer before tearing corpses apart
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.