Germany celebrates Johannes Kepler successful docking in Berlin
ATV-2 Johannes Kepler docked to the International Space Station on 24 February. A live transmission organised by DLR in cooperation with ESA took place in the Wissenschaftsforum in Berlin, Germany. The event was attended by media, parliamentarians, space agencies representatives, industry and general public.
Next to Gendarmenmarkt, the beautiful square in the heart of the German capital and only a few minutes away from the German Parliament Deutscher Bundestag, the expectant audience followed with enthusiasm the long-awaited moment in which ATV-2 would meet with the Station after an 8-day chase.
The programme started with a very enthusiastic welcome speech by Prof. Johannes Wörner, Chairman of the Executive Board of the German Aerospace Center DLR, defending manned spaceflight activities.
Peter Hintze, Parliamentary State Secretary of Federal Ministry of Economics and Coordinator of the German Government for Aerospace put German space efforts into context with the recently published German space strategy. He expressed his satisfaction that 3 more ATVs are to come. Hintze also referred to the ATV as a valuable example of international cooperation.
Simonetta Di Pippo, pointed out that ATV docking is the result of hard work across European institutions and industries. The highly qualified engineering work might make a docking manoeuvre look easy but docking an automated spacecraft to the Space Station is very, very hard work.
Evert Dudok, President of EADS Astrium Satellites, followed the spirit of the preceding presenters and thanked all contributing parties for their excellent work.
The event was moderated by Ulrich Bobinger, a well known scientific presenter in German TV. Kirsten MacDonell, ESA’s ATV Cargo Integration Engineer joined him on stage to describe how the payloads were packed into ATV 2. She also pointed out specific features different to ATV-1 such as the late cargo access.
Volker Schmid, DLR's Programme Manager ATV / ARV, gave an overview on German contributions to the ATV and Dr. Michael Menking, Vice President for Orbital Systems and Space Exploration of EADS Astrium took the opportunity to outline the industrial aspects in building the European Automated Transfer Vehicle.
The last minutes before the docking were presented by ESA Astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti who took the audience step by step through the docking process. Addressing the audience in a perfect German, she pointed out the exact moment of docking to the station which was happily applauded by the approximately 80 people in the Berliner Wissenschaftsforum.