2008 September 28 - For the first time during the campaign I have a feeling of being ready. We landed on a glorious morning in Tahiti yesterday. During transit we took spectra of stars and practised aircraft positioning maneuvers. One of my intensified cameras failed, but other researchers were very satisfied with the performance of their instruments. We slept during the day and had breakfast at five in the afternoon. We talked reentries at the side of a pool and strolled along the beach. Afternoon clouds covered the Tahiti hills. After a short crew brief, a bus took us to the airfield, where both DC8 and Gulfstream were parked close to each other in a secluded area. During the night, we fixed the problems encountered on the flight over. The intensified camera now works fine. We installed the last of video time insertion boxes. We set up the instruments again, we tested, we authenticated, we calibrated. Communication channels were probed again. We cleared our computers for a series of new data and then stored everything away in the storage bins, ready for takeoff tonight. We are scheduled to depart at around 11 pm local time this evening. Hard to believe we are only hours away from the reentry of ATV. For now, a swim and then a nice deep sleep with dreams of international collaboration and gazing up at the sky.
2008 September 26 - We are ready to go. Both aircraft leave this evening for Papeete, Tahiti. This will be a night flight, so we have another chance to operate our cameras and spectrographs in night-time conditions. Last night tarmac tests resolved most open issues with the instruments, which now operate nominally. DC8 participants observed a second set of calibration lamps to measure the sensitivity and wavelength response of the cameras. GV observers will study the lamps this evening in the hours before departure. A sense of anticipation is rising. This morning's Moon was just a sliver, reminding us that the entry is just days away. We now worry about how reliable our estimates are for the ATV's expected brightness and how to decide what parts of the fragment train to observe. The team is pretty stressed out, but everybody is excited to go and do this. We all share the same fate now, and the collaboration among the researchers is great, sharing instrument parts, tools and advise. We all very much want to make this mission a success.
2008 September 25 - The DC8 and GV aircrafts are now fully instrumented. At Moffett Field, the GV aircraft was parked near the control tower of Moffet Air Field. Researchers went through badging and had their first look of the inside around 3 in the afternoon. The rest of the day was used to fit check the camera stands, plug in the laptop computers and camera controlers and address the gps and timing signals. Mike Koop arrived back from Palmdale, where he had earlier assisted the DC8 science crew. In Palmdale, the evening was dedicated to lamp calibration tests. Dave Bogdenoff of NASA Ames brought a bright calibration lamp, which was placed at about 200 feet from the aircraft on a scissor jack to elevate the lamps to the level of the aircraft windows. The lamp calibrations were completed at 9 pm local time. The instruments were stored for takeoff. Wheels up was at 09:49 PDT. We amazed the DC8 crew by the disciplined setup of instruments in flight, which took much shorter than anticipated. Lights out was around 10:20 PDT. We then observed the night sky, including planet Jupiter, for about an hour. Some veteran instruments, such as Echelle, worked without problems. Other cameras did not perform yet as needed. Several problems were identified that will need to be addressed tonight, with the aircraft on the tarmac. Communication tests with ATV control center were successful. At GMT269/05:30 and GMT269/06:00 the second communication test with the two observation airplanes took place. Gulfstream V airplane was on the Tarmac at Dryden whereas DC8 was in flight testing the flight pattern for the observation campaign. Both communications contacts from ATV-CC to the Aircrafts and aircrafts calling back ATV-CC worked fine. Chatting device in DC8 was successfully tested by the JADOR team.
2008 September 24 - The DC 8 A/C had an engine problem during the shakedown flight last evening. The issue was fixed later in the afternoon, in time for the scheduled test flight, but the science team was not ready for in flight tests of the instruments. At midnight all instruments were operational. Computers and cameras accepting IRIGB received timing data from GPS, but video time inserters still have to be installed. The power consumption of the cameras was tested and approved. Tomorrow, we will do calibration measurements using calibration lamps, from 7 to 8:30 pm PDT, followed by a two hour test flight starting at 9:15 pm PDT.
Mike Taylor and NIRSPEC camera
Science team setting up instruments at DAOF
Jason Hatton, Dorothee Aubry,
and Christina Giannopapa
Louis Jacome and Chris Kiting
and RTISOF instrument
SLIT instrument team:
Renate Wernitz, Andreas Knapp, and Stefan Loehle (PI)
David Sliski and DIM2 instrument
Sposh camera and
Jonathan Mc Auliffe
Geoff McHarg and
HFRS high framerate imager
Credit: P. Jenniskens Click on image for larger picture.
2008 September 23 - We are now preparing for our DC8 test flight this evening. The flight will last only two hours and is mainly intended to verify that all instruments work properly on the aircraft and that the windows do not ice up when they cool down at altitude. Several of the Gulfstream V team drove from NASA Ames to here at NASA DAOF in Palmdale this morning to come along for the test flight. This afternoon's tasks include hanging up black curtains to block out in-cabin lights, install time inserters for the video cameras, and complete the instrument check-outs on the ground.
EHFRI camera (GV) mounted by Jason Hatton. HFRS (GV) camera and INT (GV) in foreground. Photo: P. Jenniskens.
2008 September 20 - The focus has shifted to setting up and testing the instruments on the aircraft, for departure on Friday September 26, one week from now. Today, participants started assembly of the camera setups for deployment on the Gulfstream V aircraft at the SETI Institute.
2008 September 18 - The arrival of funding at NASA Ames Research Center for the ATV-1 "Jules Verne" MAC mission was celebrated this morning. The remaining significant hurdles appear to have been resolved. We thank all involved behind the scenes that made this possible.
2008 September 17 - Hurricane Ike has not stopped our participant from the NASA Johnson Spaceflight Center's Orbital Debris Office. We learned that the storm caused only a couple of minor leaks and only 2 days without power at his home. JSC is still closed and won't open until Monday, but the JSC imaging system was retreived today.
Instrument upload. The DC8 aircraft at the Dryden Aircraft Operations Facility and mission director Frank Cutler. More pictures here. Photo: P. Jenniskens, SETI Institute.
2008 September 16 - The crew at the Dryden Aircraft Operations Facility in Palmdale, California, did an incredible job to keep us on schedule. By the end of today, we reached to goal of installing all instruments in the DC8 aircraft that need permanent installation for takeoff and landing. Those included ALLSKY, INT1, INT2, ASTRO, FROG, SLIT, EHFRI, and SPOSH. All but two of the windows were installed. Power cords are now being provided and then the instruments will be wired, shielded by curtains from in-cabin light, and tested. Next Monday, all other instruments will be added that are stored for takeoff and landing. Here are some images from the past two days.
The official start of the ATV-1 "Jules Verne" MAC is celebrated. From right to left: Edna de Vore of the SETI Institute serves ice cream to participants Peter Jenniskens, Jason Hatton, and Rick Rairden.
2008 September 14 - Today's official start of the ATV-1 "Jules Verne" MAC mission was celebrated with icecream during the Team SETI icecream social at the SETI Institute. Participants had a five hour drive ahead of them. Shortly after the celebration, a van was loaded with cameras and other equipment, which will be delivered to NASA's DC-8 aircraft operators in Palmdale in the morning.
Hurricane Ike threatens Houston. Photo: GOES/NASA MSFC.
2008 September 11 - Our participants at the NASA Johnson Spaceflight Center's Orbital Debris Office are being threatened by a category 3 hurricane, Ike, which is on a collision course with Houston late Friday and early Saturday. We wish them well. In contrast, the south Pacific ocean is quiet, it being outside the hurricane season. In this time of year, hurricanes, if they occur, tend to be north of Tahiti. Our contact in Tahiti reports: "Right now it is beautiful with some fluffy white clouds overhead...".
Compilation of September Perseids . Photo: C. Peterson, Cloudbait Observatory, Colorado.
2008 September 10 - An uexpected shower of bright meteors rained down on the US and Canda this morning Sep 09. The shower was an outburst of the little-known annual September Perseids (IAU shower 208). More here. Photo Gallery.
Preflight predictions of ATV brightness by I. Boyd (U. of Michigan Ann Arbor) and P. Jenniskens (SETI Institute). Photo: P. Jenniskens/SETI Institute.
2008 September 09 - Iain Boyd of the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor has completed a study of the expected brightness of ATV at different wavelengths. He assumed that ATV did not tumble (as it will), was cylindrical in shape and entered Earth's atmosphere front side forwards, and did not fragment (as it is expected to do). Full Report. Results have been corrected for range (provided by J. Albers) and atmospheric extinction by P. Jenniskens, SETI Institute. In the figure above, he compares the result to the 548-nm brightness of Stardust at different times along its entry trajectory. Jenniskens also adds that Aluminum Oxyde bands will likely be observed, as shown in a spectrum of the impact flash from a meteorite being bomparded by an aluminum projectile (inset). A publication is in preparation. For now, this data can be used to estimate the exposure times during ATV observations.
Field test of RTISOF cameras. Photo by C. Kitting/Cal State University East Bay.
2008 September 08 - Instrument checks and calibrations are underway. Over the Labor Day weekend, Cal State U East Bay researchers travelled to the University of California Barcroft high altitude Research Station in the White Mountains, east of Bishop, CA, to test the cameras in dark and clear sky operating conditions.
Visual confirmation that ATV has undocked from ISS. Photo by J. Hatton/ESA-ESTEC.
2008 September 06 - NASA ISS reports: "ATV Adieu: At 5:31pm EDT last evening, ATV-1 Jules Verne successfully undocked from the ISS Service Module (SM) aft port, with Sergei Volkov and Oleg Kononenko standing by to monitor separation maneuvers and telemetry parameters. As planned, Kononenko recorded imagery of the ATV front cone during departure. As ATV-2 is being assembled at Bremen/Germany, ATV-1 performed nominal separation burns and is scheduled for re-entry on 9/29 at night time, to be observed from two high-flying NASA planes." More here.
2008 September 05 - ATV is undocking today at about 5:30 PM EDT. No video downlink. Follow the undocking at this ESA site or the NASA ISS reports site. The undocked ATV will pass over the San Francisco Bay Area on September 10-15. More here.
2008 September 04 - ESA and NASA have reached broad agreement on the various issues involving the ATV "Jules Verne" MAC mission. The logistic organization of the campaign is in full effect.
2008 September 04 - Aviation Week reports that the ISS crew is cleaning house by transferring trash into the Progress and ATV spacecraft to burn up during re-entry over the Pacific. ATV will undock first, tomorrow, followed by Progress on Wednesday. ATV is expected to carry some 900 kilograms (2,000 pounds) of dry waste and 254 kilograms (560 pounds) of liquid waste that the crew has transferred from the cluttered station. More here.
2008 September 02 - ATV is about to be un-docked. ESA reports that: "ATV will perform a fully automated undocking with the International Space Station on 5 September at 23:30 CEST (21:30 UT). [...] A few weeks later, on 29 September, the ATV main engines will use their remaining fuel in two separate deorbit boosts to terminate the 3-week solo flight of Jules Verne. They will deorbit the 13.5-tonne spacecraft on a steep flight path, performing a controlled destructive re-entry high above a completely uninhabited area of the Pacific Ocean. The planning of this event in the night time will allow observation from two aircrafts containing a collection of ESA and NASA scientific experiments allowing optical imaging and spectrometric observations." In addition, reports ESA, "the ISS crew might be able to observe ATV re-entry with the Russian ultraviolet and spectrometric instrument, called FIALKA." More here.
Jules Verne ATV is docked to the aft end of Zvezda. Photo: ESA.
2008 August 27 - ATV carried out first orbital debris avoidance maneuvre for the ISS. The manoeuvre was started at 18:11 CEST (16:11 UT) and finished 5 minutes 2 seconds later. More here.
J. Albers (left) and ESA project manager J. Hatton of ESA-ESTEC visit the ATV Control Center at C.N.E.S. in Toulouse, France.
2008 August 21 - The project passed the ATV reentry Flight Readiness Review in Toulouse France. Work packages 1-5 have been completed. From the ATV-1 "Jules Verne" MAC science team, P. Jenniskens, and J. Albers travelled to France to participate in this review.
2008 August 15 - Preparations are underway to facilitate the deployment of the DC8. Foreign national visit paperwork has been submitted. Because of the past Stardust SRC entry observing campaign, the transition is going smoothly.
2008 August 12 - The Perseid shower showed an unexpected outburst over Europe on August 13 at around 2h UT. No outburst was observed during instrument tests the night prior.
2008 August 06 - NASA's DC-8 Airborne Laboratory is expected to replace the B757-200 aircraft in the ATV-1 "Jules Verne" MAC mission. Although it can accomodate ten less researchers, the DC-8 has optical quality windows that extend into the near-UV wavelength range. The same aircraft was used for the Stardust SRC reentry observing campaign. The aircraft is operated by NASA Dryden Flight Research Center. The DC8 will be deployed in combination with a H211 LLC operated Gulfstream V aircraft.
2008 July 25 - It is now official. ESA Director General Jean-Jacques Dordain announced the plans to undock Jules Verne in the period between 5 and 22 September, with the destructive reentry into Earth's atmosphere scheduled for 29 September 2008.
2008 July 21 - The ISS overpass over the San Francisco Bay Area was used as a test of communication protocols for providing trajectory update information. The ISS trajectory for July 21 and 22 was predicted by the ATV operators in Toulouse, communicated to the ATV team point of contact for naviation Jim Albers, then translated successfully into azimuths and elevations and plotted on star background maps as seen from the various observing locations. The position information was used to acquire the ISS during the Sunday evening overpass by team member Chris Kitting, who used a hand-guided 1000-mm focal length 130-mm diameter refractor at 1.6x, to capture ISS when it passed overhead at Oak Ridge. ATV is at the bottom left, on the "nose", opposite the KIBO and shorter Columbus lab modules. Wide field images were also obtained by Kitting, Murahashi and Albers, which demonstrated that the ISS lagged in its orbit by 11 seconds (give or take 1 second) compared to the prediction that was used for the test.
2008 July 10 - The ISS passes over Europe and the USA can be used for excercises in pointing and tracking. www.heavens-above.com and Spaceflight.nasa.gov provide the necessary information.
2008 July 08 - The daily report of the International Space Station operations says that the ATV de-orbit will be delayed to make night time reentry observations possible prior to the onset of morning twilight at altitude. The current target date for reentry is the early morning of September 29.
2008 June 23 - The setup of cameras on the B757 was tested with a concept model of how to provide a swivel point close to the aircraft window that keeps the lens away from the window and provides the largest possible field of view when tracking ATV. The camera will be pointed with a co-aligned webcam hooked to a video headset display with cross hairs that is worn by the operator. A curtain will cover the camera for shielding against in-cabin lights. The camera stand is stored for takeoff and landing. [Picture.]
2008 June 23 - The 6th International Planetary Probe Workshop is being held in Atlanta, Georgia, from June 21 to 27, offering an opportunity to share ideas about how best to observe the ATV reentry.
2008 June 20 - ATV was used to raise the orbit of the International Space Station. More here from ESA and NASA. ATV finds other use as a crew sleeping quarters and to wash, help keeping the Station air humidity level lower.
2008 June 07 - NASA Administrator Michael Griffin urged Europe to develop the ATV technology into an independent European human spaceflight capability. More.
2008 May 19 - The ATV-1 "Jules Verne" MAC was off to a good start this weekend when 50 participated in the Workshop on Re-Entry Emission Signatures III at NASA Ames Research Center. An international group of researchers met with ATV mission managers from ESA and CNES, and orbital debris program managers from NASA and ESA to discuss how best to observe the ATV-1 "Jules Verne" reentry. Observations of past night- and daytime reentries of Stardust, GRO, Ariane, and external Shuttle tanks were compared to model predictions for the ATV-1 reentry. Participants were excited to visit the B757 aircraft that is being made available for the mission. Key objectives of the observing campaign were formulated and observing strategies how best to meet those objectives were discussed. In the next month, this work will continue in preparation for the mission. [Workshop agenda ]
2008 May 15-17 - Workshop at NASA Ames Research Center to discuss how best to observe the ATV reentry and discuss results from past observing campaigns. In order to facilitate access to NASA Ames, all participants have to register [Registration form]
2008 May 02 - Heads up: ATV-1 could stay at station a little longer reports Spaceflight Now. Russia is considering postponing the Progress 30P mission. If so, this might delay the ATV reentry date, possibly as late as into September. Giving us a little more time to prepare! Keep tuned.
2008 Apr 03 - ATV has docked successfully.
2008 Mar 31 - ATV Docking is imminent. NASA will air the ATV spacecraft maneuvers and docking on NASA-TV. Coverage will start on March 31 at 7 a.m. PDT (10 a.m. EDT) as the ATV begins an approach to the station from two miles away. A series of engine firings will bring the cargo ship to within 36 feet of the station before the Expedition 16 crew sends an abort command to move the ATV away from the complex for its final approach three days later, according to NASA Media advisory M08-065.
On April 3, NASA TV coverage will begin at 5 a.m. PDT (8 a.m. EDT) as the cargo ship closes in for docking to the rear port of the station's Zvezda service module. Docking is scheduled for 9:40 a.m CDT. More: ESA live coverage
2008 Mar 11 - Jason Hatton captured these trails of ATV and the International Space Station, respectively, from his back yard in Noordwijk, the Netherlands. ISS passed first at 04:13 UT, while ATV passed four minutes later. More here.
2008 Mar 09 - The ATV-1 "Jules Verne" was launched from Kourou, French Guiana, on time at 04:03:04 UT. The launch, executed by CNES, was perfect, according to Jean-Yves Le Gall, the Arianespace CEO. Just learned that the solar panels have also deployed and everything seems to be in order. We can now look forward to the reentry in August.
ATV carried a 19th century edition of Jules Verne's book "From the Earth to the Moon". Here in Mountain View, California, a tiny sliver of a Moon, starting a new cycle, set less than an hour before launch. A fitting symbol of the start of a new project!
Next step for ATV: automatic docking, which is scheduled for around April 3. See schedule on Spaceflight Now.
2008 Mar 03 - Launch of ATV imminent. The 20-tonne European resupply and space-tug module will be carried into orbit by a special version of the Ariane 5 launch vehicle. The launcher, operated by Arianespace, is now scheduled to lift off from Europe's spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, on 9 March. The launch was delayed by 24 hours due to a technical concern about the ATV/Ariane 5 launcher separation system. [More here] [Docking simulation video]
Live webcasting of the launch starts 20 minutes before lift off (at 03:59 UT Sunday March 9 (= 19:59 PST, 22:59 EST, Saturday March 8):
webcast ATV office
2008 Mar 02 - The French model kit manufacturer Heller has released a model kit to co-incide with the ATV-1 Jules Verne mission; it includes three models of the ATV - one a cutaway model integrated with the Ariane-5, a stand-alone model in freeflight configuration and one integrated with the core of the ISS.
2008 Feb 07 - ESA's Columbus laboratory was successfully launched aboard Space Shuttle Atlantis today. The next imminent project is the launch of the ATV-1 "Jules Verne".
2008 Jan 31 - ATV is about to be launched. Preflight briefing Automated Transfer Vehicle
[Back to news]
ATV-1 "Jules Verne" MAC mission logo
+ September 08 - DC8 upload has started at NASA Dryden Aircraft Operations Facility
+ September 04 - ESA-NASA agreement signed.
+ August 18 - The mission will be executed by a Gulfstream V, operated by H211 LLC from NASA Ames Research Center, and NASA's DC8 Airborne Laboratory, operated by NASA Dryden Flight Research Center and UND/NSERC.
+ August 6 - Capable NASA DC8 Airborne Laboratory likely to replace B757 in ATV MAC mission.
+ July 25 - ESA decides on night-time reentry to facilitate a close study of the reentry.
+ June 27 - ESA and CNES have studied the conditions needed for a night time reentry of ATV-1.
+ May 15 - Workshop at NASA Ames to discuss how best to observe the ATV reentry.
+ April 25 - Mission patch embroidery approved.
+ February 13 - We received authorization for use of a Boeing 757 and a Gulfstream V aircraft, both operated from NASA Ames Research Center by H211 LLC.
+ January 4 - Mission brief with NASA DC8 Airborne Laboratory managers: due to scheduling conflict, DC8 aircraft no longer available in August. Search for alternative commences.
+ January 3 - Quadrantid MAC mission deploys Gulfstream V aircraft to be used in ATV reentry observing campaign.
+ November 27 - ESA Directorate gives green light for proposed ATV reentry observing campaign
+ Reentry campaign images from previous Stardust mission (involving NASA DC8 Airborne Laboratory)
+ Gulfstream V campaign images from previous Quadrantid meteor shower mission
organization schedule (weekly updated)
participants and layout of instruments (weekly updated)
Curator: Peter Jenniskens
Responsible NASA Official: Dave Jordan
Responsible ESA Official: Jason Hatton