Countdown to the Final Burn: ATV Jules Verne will Undock on September 5th

Article written: 29 Aug , 2008
Updated: 24 Dec , 2015
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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.

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


11 Responses

  1. Dominion says

    what a waste.

  2. Tyler Durden says

    ^ Agreed. You want to dispose of space trash, send it down with the astronauts, or just give it a shove in the right direction so it burns up in the atmosphere. No use destroying a perfectly good vehicle that could have been reused as such, or added to the space station as extra usable space.

  3. Chuck Lam says

    Why contaminate the atmosphere with ISS crap? Why not simply jetson the trash outbound in a simple container with an obsolete mini-rocket. Thus sparing an already troubled atmoshpere with more of the same. Also, why waste an ATV vehicle? There must be useful serviceable hardware beneficial to the ISS joke. Damn! What are these morons spending our tax dollars thinking?

  4. Keith says

    The current Russian supply modules also go exactly the same way. There will be further ATV launches in the future, it’s just that it was not designed to be a reusable vehicle.

    However there are plans to adapt the ATV basic design into a cargo return vessel and even a man rated vehicle.

  5. Jon Hanford says

    As Keith points out, ESA & NASA are already studying the Jules Verne as a manned ferry for astronauts to & from the ISS. With the impending Shuttle fleet retirement & political problems with the Russians, I would seriously increase funding to make this option materialize ASAP. This ATV’s near flawless mission (including an autonomous docking withe the ISS), increased payload capabilities (for supplies, propellant & equipment) and using the ESAs’ own heavy lift rocket would make this an ideal transport vehicle to and from the station. As I understand the situation, the ATV is already man-rated, so only a crew capsule must be fabricated & tested, then integrated with the ATV. Might be easier said than done, but examine the alternatives. NASA & ESA would both benefit greatly & I believe this could be accomplished in only a couple of years. They’ve developed a great ATV so now let’s fully utilize its’ potential.

  6. Sili says

    Wait. They’re going to jettison 110 l of water?
    Why?!

  7. Dominion says

    “unwanted equipment”? just what are they throwing away? If we are ever going to have an orbital construction facility to create bigger ships then we will need all the equipment and resources we can get. There are plans to build a base on the moon. Why can’t this thing be sent there? Going to need and want some equipment on the moon. And water too. Just seems such a waste to burn it all up just cause it can’t be used right now. And the ATV is supposed to drop six tons of stuff into the ocean!?! I thought we were going to be thinking green now. Can anyone say pollution? Does the ATV have any remaining fuel in it? Wouldn’t that be a toxic hazard? And we are just going to throw it in with the fish? We wonder why there are so many dead zones in the ocean now. Maybe cause we throw garbage and toxic waste in it all the time. I think it is time Nasa and Esa were made to be accountable for their actions. They do use tax dollars to fund their operations after all.

  8. David says

    As someone who lives near the pacific, NZ, I wonder if NASA has consent to drop this POLLUTION into OUR oceans.

    I agree with Dominion above, lets keep it up there once we get it there. Push the wee dear into a better , safer orbit and leave it there. It could be a life boat a place to go to if things go wrong, a storeroom of old stuff, in the future this may be used in another project or maybe for museums?

    Mir too should have been left up there.

    There is far too much pollution of the atmosphere as these things launch, so we dont need any more dliberate pollutionn like this.
    If NASA dont stop this NZ will take its space needs elswhere.( joke)

    Does any one know if there has been permission given to NASA and the USA to polute our waters in this way?

    Maybe its time to show us the real space ships with the reverse engineered ships from area 51?

    DaViD

  9. trux says

    Can’t they jusgt bring all the junk back to the Earth and sell it on eBay?! It could help financing the next flight. I bet that even the broken toilet would sell on eBay for an astronomic amount.

  10. Paul says

    Didn”t they just use it to steer the station away from some serious space junk.
    It sounds pretty handy to me

  11. LoozooL says

    Seems like such a waste when there is a housing shortage.
    I could be a nice place to live and what a great view.

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