Atv Jules Verne: in-flight demonstration of new RDV technology


De Pasquale E.

European Space Agency, ATV-CC, 18, avenue Edouard Belin, 31401 Toulouse



On the 3rd of April, 2008, the Automated Transfer Vehicle Jules Verne (ATV-JV) successfully docked to the International Space Station (ISS). One of the mission objectives was to demonstrate the new technology developed to perform autonomous rendezvous (RDV) to the ISS with particular focus on functionalities critical for guaranteeing the ISS safety. ATV RDV innovative technology has been in flight demonstrated. Some of those technologies have potential application to formation flight: phasing manoeuvres to fly ATV to a precise position in proximity of ISS, accurate relative GPS autonomous navigation with proximity link communication, innovative RDV sensors, RDV guidance via station keeping points and final approach.
An ESA-lead team based at ATV-CC in Toulouse has performed a near real-time assessment of GNC critical functions of RDV during two dedicated demonstration days.
Successful trilateral reviews of the reports, involving teams from ESA, CNES, Astrium in ATV-CC, ISS Mission Control Centre in Houston and in Moscow have confirmed the good behaviour of ATV GNC resulting in a GO from ISS Management Team for the continuation of ATV-JV mission. The proposed paper presents a summary of results of in-flight experience which are related to the assessment of RDV technology with emphasis on observed performance of those functionalities which could be applied to formation flights.

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