2008-10-06 - ATV reentrySuccessful re-entry for ATV
Raumtransporter verglüht über dem Pazifik<br /> Europe's first Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) Jules Verne successfully completed its six-month ISS logistics mission on 29 September with its controlled destructive re-entry over a completely uninhabited area of the South Pacific.
Following a final deorbit burn at 14:58 CEST which slowed its velocity by 70 m/s, the ATV entered the upper atmosphere at an altitude of 120 km at 15:31 CEST. It broke up at an altitude of 75 km with the remaining fragments falling into the Pacific some 12 minutes later.
The ATV has proved what a key ISS logistics vehicle it is. Following its 9 March launch on an Ariane 5 rocket from Europe's Spaceport in French Guiana, the ATV delivered 6 tonnes of cargo to the International Space Station, to which it remained docked for five months. This included ISS reboost and refuelling propellants, water, oxygen and 1.3 tonnes of dry cargo including food, clothing, spares and other items. During its mission, the ATV displayed the full range of its capabilities, including automatic rendezvous & docking, four ISS reboosts to a higher orbital altitude to offset atmospheric drag, ISS attitude control, performing a collision-avoidance manoeuvre when fragments of an old satellite came within the Station's vicinity, and on its final journey offloading 2 tonnes of waste.
Following its undocking on 5 September, the ATV had spent 23 days carrying out "rephrasing" manoeuvres to bring it to the correct position behind and underneath the ISS. This predefined position allowed the re-entry to be viewed and recorded from the Station itself, as well as from two specially-equipped observation planes located in the vicinity of the ATV's flight path in the skies above the South Pacific. This observation campaign will serve to determine whether the vehicle's break-up matched the computer modelling.