ENP Newswire -
Release date- 04112013 - Following its successful docking five months ago, the most recent ATV in action - number 4, 'Albert Einstein' - designed and built by Astrium, the world's second ranking space company, has now successfully completed its mission to the
The ATV-4 performed a fully controlled destructive re-entry into the atmosphere today, following its perfect undocking from the ISS on 28 October, and bringing the five-month mission to its conclusion. The ATV-4 provided the ISS crew with fuel and a full range of new goods - from food to parts destined to ISS maintenance and onboard scientific experiments - prior to removing and destroying waste from the ISS.
With this successful mission end, Astrium and its European partners have once again demonstrated that the multiple cargo loading capability and flexibility of ATVs makes them readily adaptable to evolving cargo and ISS needs. ATV-4 displayed an unprecedented level of accuracy in docking compared to previous ATV missions, and brought an exceptionally wide variety of cargo - 1400 items - to the ISS.
The ATV-4 mission, owned and operated by the
Weighing in at 20 tonnes, ATV has a maximum net cargo capacity of up to seven tonnes. The composition of this payload can vary depending on the mission:
.between 1.5 and 5.5 tonnes of freight and supplies (food, research instruments, tools, etc.),
.up to 840 kilograms of drinking water,
.up to 100 kilograms of gases (air, oxygen and nitrogen),
.up to four tonnes of fuel for orbit correction,
.up to 860 kilograms of propellant to refuel the space station.
On top of all the functions described above, the supply vehicle also serves as a fully inhabitable ISS module, offering the crew 45m-3 of additional space in which to live and work. Previous astronauts have spoken of the ATVs as their preferred place to sleep, because the ATVs are much quieter than the rest of the ISS.
In addition to delivering supplies, ATV also carries out reboost manoeuvres to counteract the effects of atmospheric drag, which causes the ISS to lose altitude by as much as 100 metres a day. And if space debris threatens the ISS, ATV can carry out the requisite avoidance manoeuvres. It also carries out attitude control manoeuvres when other spacecraft approach the ISS. During its mission, 'Albert Einstein''s engines powered a total of 6 reboost manoeuvres that each keeps the ISS back up to its operational orbit.
Loaded with the liquid and dry waste, as well as redundant equipment, the European ATV burned up as planned during controlled re-entry into Earth's atmosphere over the
At the same time that 'Albert Einstein' finished its mission, 'Georges Lemaitre', the fifth and final European ATV built by Astrium arrived at the European spaceport in Kourou,
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