FW: {MPML} Manmade Fireball: ATV Preparing for Fiery Destruction

From: Derek C Breit (breit_ideas@poyntsource.com)
Date: Sat Jun 18 2011 - 02:29:03 UTC

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    -----Original Message-----
    From: mpml@yahoogroups.com [mailto:mpml@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Ron
    Sent: Friday, June 17, 2011 11:26 AM
    To: Minor Planet Mailing List
    Subject: {MPML} Manmade Fireball: ATV Preparing for Fiery Destruction
    ATV preparing for fiery destruction
    European Space Agency
    17 June 2011
    ATV Johannes Kepler has been an important part of the International
    Space Station since February. Next week, it will complete its mission by
    undocking and burning up harmlessly in the atmosphere high over an
    uninhabited area of the Pacific Ocean.
    Serving the International Space Station is a valuable job but it will
    come to a spectacular end: ESA's second Automated Transfer Vehicle,
    packed with Station rubbish, will deliberately plummet to its
    destruction on Tuesday in Earth's atmosphere.
    Just like the tonnes of natural space debris that collide with our
    planet every day, the 10-tonne ferry will burn up on reentry.
    Only a few hardy pieces might survive and splash into the uninhabited
    South Pacific. The area's air and sea traffic has been warned and a
    no-fly zone will prevent any accidents.
    The racks inside ATV have been filled with some 1200 kg of waste bags
    and unwanted hardware by the crew. 
    Mission so far
    ATV Johannes Kepler delivered about seven tonnes of much-needed
    supplies to the Space Station, including 1170 kg of dry cargo, 100 kg of
    oxygen, 851 kg of propellants to replenish the Station tanks and 4535 kg
    of fuel for the ferry itself to boost the outpost's altitude and make
    other adjustments.
    ATV-2 manoeuvred the complex on 2 April to avoid a collision with space
    During the hectic mission of Johannes Kepler, two Space Shuttles and
    Japan's HTV cargo carrier visited the Station, along with two Progress
    and Soyuz spacecraft. These required several changes of Station
    attitude, mostly controlled by ATV's thrusters.
    Big boosts and preparations for dive
    ATV's last important task was to give the Station's orbit a big boost.
    One important sequence was performed 12 June, another on 15 June and the
    last one this afternoon, 17 June.
    The combined effect of these manoeuvres was to raise the Station's orbit
    to around 380 km.
    The crew will close the hatches between the Station and ATV-2 on Sunday
    afternoon at 15:30 GMT (17:30 CEST). Undocking follows on Monday, at
    14:51 GMT (16:51 CEST), with ATV's thrusters gently increasing the
    distance from the outpost.
    On 21 June, Johannes Kepler will fire its engines twice to descend
    from orbit.
    The first burn, at 17:07 GMT (19:07 CEST) will drop it towards Earth.
    The second burn, at 20:05 GMT (22:05 CEST), will direct it precisely
    towards its Pacific target.
    Hitting the upper atmosphere, ATV will tumble, disintegrate and burn,
    and any remains will strike the ocean at around 20:50 GMT (22:50 CEST).
    Useful up to last moments
    Some aspects of a controlled destructive entry are still not well known,
    so ATV's last moments will be recorded by a prototype "black box".
    The Reentry Breakup Recorder will gather measurements on the location,
    temperature, pressure and attitude of the vehicle's breakup before
    Once it reaches an altitude of about 18 km, it will transmit the
    information via the Iridium satphone system.
    With this last phone call home, Johannes Kepler will be productive
    right to the very end of a fruitful mission.
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