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Snapshots of the ATV-2 ‘Johannes Kepler’

The second ATV takes shape

Glimpses of the second ATV taking shape at various stages of its manufacture and integration process.


© Airbus Defence and Space

Bremen, March 2009

ATV-2, named after the famous German astronomer and philosopher Johannes Kepler (1571–1630), is taking shape. This picture shows integration work being carried out on the avionics module in the cleanroom in Bremen. The inset image shows the new ATV’s propulsion module.

 

© Airbus Defence and Space

Bremen, March 2010

Just before the end of the ATV-2’s integration and test phase at the Bremen site, a couple of visitors seized the opportunity to have a last glance at ‘Johannes Kepler’. In May the autonomous transfer vehicle was shipped to Kourou, for launch on board an Ariane 5 to the International Space Station (ISS). However, there is no time to rest for Airbus Defence and Space’s integration team, as they are already hard at work on Johannes Kepler’s successor – ATV-3 ‘Edoardo Amaldi’!

 

© Airbus Defence and Space

Bremen, April 2010

In mid April three astronauts – ESA’s Hans Schlegel (middle) and Paolo Nespoli and NASA’s Catherine Coleman – paid a visit to Airbus Defence and Space’s Bremen site, where they checked out the Johannes Kepler automated transfer vehicle (ATV-2). The astronauts took the opportunity to familiarise themselves with the ATV and to verify that all requirements, such as labelling and ergonomics, had been complied with. No major objections were raised during the day-long inspection, so it was therefore deemed a success.

 

 

The ATV’s payload module, the Integrated Cargo Carrier (ICC)

Kourou, November 2010

The ATV’s payload module, the Integrated Cargo Carrier (ICC) is seen here ready for the final mating process. ATV-2 arrived in Kourou in June 2010 in several sections, and the spacecraft and the cargo-carrying modules were then systematically tested and verified. Dry cargo was loaded into the ICC. This photo shows the bottom part of the cylindrical Equipped External Bay (EEB) with its round, differently sized, colourful tanks for water, gas and fuel for the Russian Zvezda service module on the ISS.

ATV 2: tilting of the ICC from the horizontal to the vertical position

Kourou, November 2010

The first step of the mating process is the tilting of the ICC from the horizontal to the vertical position. This manoeuvre is performed by a dedicated cradle, which is used also for ICC transportation and integration activities. This cradle can rotate as well as tilt the ICC. Clearly visible on the front cone of the ICC is the ‘red nose’ of the active docking system, which the ATV uses to rendezvous and attach itself to the Russian Zvezda module on the ISS.

ATV 2 : ICC fully tilted to the vertical position, the integration team attachs the hoisting device onto the ICC’s handling ring.

Kourou, November 2010

With the ICC now fully tilted to the vertical position, the integration team starts to attach the hoisting device onto the ICC’s handling ring. It is extremely important to align the ICC properly to the fixation mechanism in order to remove it smoothly from the cradle!

The Equipped Avionic Bay (EAB) sub-assembly, the ‘brain’ of the ATV

Kourou, November 2010

Preparation of the spacecraft module is carried out in parallel to the activities on the Integrated Cargo Carrier. The Equipped Avionic Bay (EAB) sub-assembly, the ‘brain’ of the ATV housing critical items such as computers, gyroscopes, navigation and control systems, and communications equipment, is shown here being given a final thorough check, before its integration with is the ICC external module.

The two sections of the ATV come together. The ICC is hoisted up for mating with the lower part of ATV, the spacecraft sub-assembly.

The ICC and the spacecraft module come together to form ATV-2 ‘Johannes Kepler’

Kourou, November 2010

The two sections of the ATV come together. The ICC is hoisted up for mating with the lower part of ATV, the spacecraft sub-assembly. For this part of the process, scaffolding has to be erected to allow the integration team to move around the ATV.

Kourou, November 2010

The ICC and the spacecraft module come together to form ATV-2 ‘Johannes Kepler’, moving closer to the big day when it will take off on its mission to the International Space Station.

 

 

Find out more! A special dossier full of informative articles and videos has been created about the ATV ‘Johannes Kepler’.Find out more! A special dossier full of informative articles and videos has been created about the ATV ‘Johannes Kepler’.

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