First test for Automated Transfer Vehicle
Acoustic testing of the Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) was successfully completed on 12 December 2001 at ESA’s test facilities in Noordwijk, The Netherlands.
This 16.3 tonne test configuration of the ATV Structural Thermal Model (the actual flight launch mass is 20,5 tonnes) was transferred to the Large European Acoustic Facility (LEAF) with the help of the air cushion transfer pad.
After final preparations, four acoustic test runs were performed to a qualification level of 147 dB – which is like being directly in the exhaust jet behind a powerful aircraft engine.
Noise during launch
The ATV, an unmanned vehicle that will deliver supplies to the International Space Station, will be put into orbit by the European Ariane-5 launcher. Acoustic testing is vital to ensure the ATV can withstand the vibrations caused by the extreme noise levels generated during launch.
Testing to continue in 2002
The ATV STM was returned to the HYDRA preparation area on Monday 17 December, where it will be prepared for the next major test of the campaign, the Modal Survey, which is planned to begin at the end of January 2002.