ATV-1: Jules Verne
The first ATV was named after French the 19th century French author and visionary Jules Verne, who fascinated millions of young people and inspired space scientists and explorers with his extraordinary voyages: From the Earth to the Moon, 20 000 leagues under the sea, Journey to the Centre of the Earth, to name just a few.
The mission of this first ATV was an extraordinary voyage and celestial journey of its own kind. Its task was to demonstrate that ATV could accomplish the cargo flight to the ISS safely and reliably, and that all the advanced technologies ATV carries work as planned. Therefore the mission of Jules Verne was different from the textbook missions that the ATV in future will use.
Launch: 9 March 2008
ATV-1 was closed in the largest version of the Ariane 5 fairing on 25 February 2008 and it was placed on the top of special version of Ariane 5 two days later. The launch took place on 9 March at 04:03 CET when the Vulcain main engine was ignited and solid rocket boosters fired.
Ariane 5 twice used its upper stage engine to finetune the orbit and release ATV to the trajectory leading towards the ISS; Ariane's mission was ended 1 hours and 7 minutes after take-off when ATV separated from upper stage.
After that ATV was switched on, the propulsion system was primed, solar arrays deployed and GPS system was turned on.
After about 10 days in orbit, ATV positioned itself 2000 km away from ISS to allow the completion of the STS-123 mission. Once visiting Space Shuttle departed and landed, departed Jules Verne from its parking orbit and approached ISS gruadually under the eye of the ATV-CC. The main objective of the Demo Days that followed was to demonstrate ATV's capability to execute the Collision Avoidance Manoeuvre (CAM), if a CAM were to be actually executed.
Demonstration Days: 29 - 31 March 2008
The first demonstration checked that Jules Verne ATV performed relative navigation with the ISS, using relative GPS successfully, and safely manoeuvred the ATV to the S2 station keeping point, located 3.5 km behind the ISS, at the same orbital altitude. The escape manoeuvre – similar to the CAM – was tested and after that ATV commanded to return to S2. ATV-CC analysed the flight results and gave the go ahead to conduct second demonstration.
The second Demonstration day tested ATV's close proximity manoeuvring and control, including testing contingency manoeuvres for ATV-CC and the ISS crew. ATV manoeuvred to within 11 metres of the docking port located on Zvezda, the Russian Service Module of the ISS. Finally the ISS crew issued the ESCAPE command and monitored when ATV returned to safe orbit with respect to the ISS Station keeping point S4(19 m behind).
Docking: 3 April 2008
As Jules Verne got closer to actual docking, ATV-CC mission controllers directed the ATV in a step-by-step approach. This required authorisation from the Russian Mission Control Centre in Moscow (MCC-M), since ATV docks with Zvezda, the Russian segment of the ISS.
After slow and careful approach with Russian Kurs radar-based system, GPS, the Videometer and Telegoniometer (laser-pulsed instruments that calculate the distance and orientation to the ISS), under the eye of the ISS crew, ATV docked to Zvezda at 16:40 CET on 3 April 2008. The hooks attaching firmly the docking ports together were closed 17:14 CET: ATV was now permanently connected to Zvezda.
Undocking and re-entry: September 2008
Having been part of the ISS for six months, Jules Verne undocked from the International Space Station on 5 September 2008 at 23:29 CET. The ATV then embarked on the last leg of its journey in space, which ended with a controlled destructive re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere on 29 September.
Last update: 2 March 2011