A quick note from ESA’s Charlotte Beskow, watching today’s Progress 42P docking to the ISS:
We are in the control room watching our screens, and on the main screen above us we see the black and white image of the ISS seen through the Progress camera. We can clearly see ATV with its solar arrays facing towards us – showing the classic ‘X’ configuration. Earlier today, ATV was used to turn the ISS around so that we are now flying at the ‘head of the stack’ – i.e. the ISS is flying backwards compared with its normal attitude. Docking is planned for 14:29.
The KOUNOTORI2, or the HTV2, a cargo transporter to the International Space Station (ISS) launched by the H-IIB Launch Vehicle No.2, was captured by the ISS robotic arm at around 8:41 p.m. on January 27 (Japan Standard Time,) and, at around 3:34 a.m. on the 28th (JST,) the KOUNOTORI berthed at the ISS. Cargo in the Pressurized Section will be transported to the ISS by the ISS astronauts followed by cargo in unpressurized areas.
KOUNOTORI2 re-entered the atmosphere to complete its mission!
The KOUNOTORI2 (HTV2, a cargo transporter to the International Space Station,) which left the ISS at around 0:46 a.m. on March 29 (Japan Standard Time,) re-entered the atmosphere at around 12:09 p.m. on March 30 (JST.) The KOUNOTORI2 successfully completed its role to transport materials to the ISS, then re-entered the Earth’s atmosphere to complete its mission of approximately 67 days. Thank you very much for supporting the KOUNOTORI2 and H-IIB Launch Vehicle No.2 missions.
Hawthorne, CA – March 29, 2010 – Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) announces the successful activation of its new Dragonspacecraft communication hardware aboard the International Space Station (ISS) during a series of operations conducted in January
Dubbed the Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) Ultra High Frequency (UHF) Communication Unit, the new system will
allow ISS crewmembers to monitor and command approaching or departing Dragon spacecraft during cargo delivery missions to the
Space Shuttle Atlantis delivered the system hardware to the ISS during mission STS-129 in November 2009. The on-orbit checkout began January 25, 2010, when astronaut Jeff Williams, ISS Expedition 22 Commander, worked with ground-based team members at SpaceX headquarters and ISS mission control in Houston to power-up and check out the new system.
On March 11, SpaceX and NASA Houston performed an additional series of tests, using the new system to send communications between the ISS and the NASA Dryden ground station. This provided a baseline of the radio frequency performance and confirmed the first set of antennas performed as expected and is ready for mission operations. Additional testing is expected for a second set of antennas as well as ongoing verification of the overall system.
The tests employed live video and telemetry links from the ISS to verify the hardware's functionality, broadcast and reception signal strengths, and the system's stability over long-duration operations.
“The success of this series of tests speaks to our close collaboration with NASA as well as the SpaceX process that allowed the rapid development of this new hardware,” said Marco Villa, SpaceX Mission Operations Manager. “Furthermore, the January tests marked the first official joint operations between SpaceX Mission Control in California, and NASA Mission Control in Houston. Everything went smoothly, and we eagerly anticipate the upcoming Dragon visits to the ISS.”
Developed by SpaceX under a NASA Space Act Agreement, the new system allows for communication between the ISS and SpaceX's Dragon spacecraft while in the vicinity of the ISS. Its design leverages the abilities of the ISS communication systems, providing data exchange with ground-based mission control.
Designed from the beginning to transport crew, SpaceX's Falcon 9 and Dragon spacecraft were selected by NASA to transport cargo to and from the ISS starting in 2011. The $1.6B contract represents 12 flights for a minimum of 20 tons to and from the ISS. The first demonstration flights under the COTS program are scheduled for 2010, following the inaugural launch of SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket.