More European hardware for the ATV installed during spacewalk
Additional hardware has been installed outside the International Space Station during extra vehicular activity (EVA) on Friday 3 September in preparation for the arrival of the Automated Transfer Vehicle or ATV, the European-built ISS supply ship due for launch in 2007.
ISS commander Gennady Padalka and ISS Flight Engineer Mike Fincke, installed 3 antennas and removed antenna covers during the 5 hour 21 minute spacewalk, which leaves the ISS almost ready for the arrival of the first ATV called Jules Verne. These antennas will allow radio communication between the ATV and the Zvezda module of the ISS, where the ATV will dock, as part of ATV automatic rendezvous and docking procedures.
The antennas will also allow the ISS crew to see telemetry information from the ATV and send appropriate commands to the ATV should this be necessary. Further to the ATV equipment that was installed, the ISS Expedition 9 crew carried out other maintenance tasks as part of their extra vehicular activities.
The EVA started at 18:43 Central European Time (CET) when the Crew left the Station from the airlock of the Pirs module in their Russian Orlan spacesuits, leaving the ISS unmanned. The first task was the replacement of a pump control panel on the Zarya module to measure the module’s coolant levels.
This was followed by installation of tether guides on Zarya handrails to avoid astronaut’s tethers becoming snagged during future spacewalks. Following a rest break Padalka and Fincke started with the installation of the ATV antennas at the aft end of Zvezda, this procedure lasting two and a half hours.
Padalka and Fincke hereafter made their way back to the Pirs module where they installed protective handrail covers at an airlock hatch, also to avoid snagging of astronaut tethers. Following the tasks associated with the EVA the ISS crew returned inside the Station. The EVA officially ended at 00:04 (CET) on 4 September with closure of the hatch on Pirs.
This was the fourth and last planned spacewalk carried out by the Expedition 9 Crew since being stationed on the ISS since April 2004 though there are future EVA’s planned for ATV equipment. The three antennas installed on this EVA were part of a consignment delivered to the ISS by the Progress M-50 spacecraft after its launch on 11 August.
Other ATV equipment included three more antennas plus additional support equipment. The remaining three antennas as well as a new rendezvous camera will be installed by the Expedition 10 Crew, ISS Commander Leroy Chiao and ISS Flight Engineer Salizhan Sharipov, during an EVA scheduled for February 2005. The following Expedition 11 Crew will install the support equipment inside the Zvezda Service Module.
When the ATV comes into service in 2007 it will act as a supply ship for the International Space Station, carrying up to nine tonnes of provisions, scientific payloads and propellant. The ATV will further be used to reboost the ISS to a higher orbiting altitude and remove waste and material that is no longer needed from the Station at the end of its mission when it leaves the Station and takes a planned self-destructive journey into Earth’s atmosphere.
The first ATV, named after Jules Verne, currently at ESA Noordwijk, is undergoing its final assembly and test campaign before being shipped to the European launch site at Kourou in French Guiana for its launch in 2007 on an Ariane 5 launcher.