The Automated Transfer Vehicle (A T V) Jules Verne will undock from the International Space Station (ISS) on September 5th to begin three weeks of autonomous flight, setting it up for a suicidal re-entry on September 29th. The ATV has been loaded with refuse and unwanted equipment from the ISS set to burn up in the Earth’s upper atmosphere marking the end of the life of Europe’s most advanced space vehicle. To record the event, both NASA and the European Space Agency will be photographing and videoing the descent…
The Russian Federal Space Agency Roscosmos announced the date for the end of the Jules Verne mission to the ISS on Thursday. This news comes after a highly successful period for the European ATV, proving the ATV can be used for extensive re-supply tasks and provide the station with a valuable re-boost and space debris avoidance options.
This first ATV, also known as “Jules Verne” (as it delivered two original manuscripts written by the 19th Century author to the station), was launched from French Guiana in South America on board an Ariane-5 heavy-lift rocket on March 5th. During this busy time for the Space Station, the ATV had to remain in a “parking orbit” for nearly a month before delivering supplies to the ISS crew on April 3th. Only when Space Shuttle Endeavour (STS-123) had undocked and landed on March 26th could the ATV approach and dock.
Since then, the ATV has proven to be a valuable addition to the station, surpassing all expectations. The ISS crew will miss Jules Verne as the roomy temporary supply vessel has provided a great area for the crew to sleep and wash, plus one of its empty tanks has been used to store 110 litres of condensation water. These extra (unexpected) uses prompted mission control to extend the life of the mission for an extra month.
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But all good things come to an end and the ATV will undock on September 5th to begin its journey back to Earth as a fireball at the end of September. The ATV will be dropping up to six tonnes of unwanted equipment and waste from the station into a pre-designated area of the Pacific Ocean. But ESA and NASA will be watching, photographing and videoing Jules Verne’s final service to the ISS crew…
Source: Red Orbit