ISS Expedition 16 Mission Updates: Part 2
A camera outside the International Space Station caught this view of the arriving European cargo ship Jules Verne during its docking on April 3, 2008.
Credit: NASA TV.

Jules Verne Cargo Ship Arrives at Space Station
3 April 2008 10:54 a.m. EDT

WASHINGTON – Europe’s inaugural unmanned cargo ship Jules Verne has successfully docked at the International Space Station (ISS) at 10:45 a.m. EDT (1445 GMT) as the two spacecraft passed south the Earth’s equator just to the east of South America.

A series of hooks and latches are now forming a secure connection between the two spacecraft. Today’s docking ends a 26-day spaceflight for Jules Verne, which launched March 8 (ET). The spacecraft is the first Automated Transfer Vehicle for the European Space Agency and is carrying about 8 tons of cargo for the station’s crew.

Click here for SPACE.com’s docking story.

NASA is broadcasting Jules Verne's docking live on NASA TV. You are invited to follow the mission using SPACE.com’s NASA TV, feed, which is available by clicking here or using the button at the left.

-- Tariq Malik


Jules Verne Cargo Ship ‘Go’ for Space Station Docking
3 April 2008 10:43 a.m. EDT

WASHINGTON – Europe’s first space freighter Jules Verne is hovering just 36 feet (11 meters) from the aft of the International Space Station as flight controllers gave it a final ‘go’ for today’s docking.

The docking was set for about 10:40 a.m. EDT (1440 GMT), thought flight controllers were considering delaying the rendezvous up to 15 minutes to await better lighting conditions.  

Click here for a preview of today’s docking activities.

NASA is broadcasting Jules Verne's docking live on NASA TV. You are invited to follow the mission using SPACE.com’s NASA TV, feed, which is available by clicking here or using the button at the left.

-- Tariq Malik


Jules Verne Cargo Ship Inches Closer to Space Station
3 April 2008 10:20 a.m. EDT

WASHINGTON – The inaugural European space freighter Jules Verne is set to move ever closer to the International Space Station (ISS) as it continues toward today’s planned 10:40 a.m. EDT (1440 GMT) docking.

The spacecraft is now headed for a point just 36 feet (11 meters) aft of a docking port on the aft of the station’s Russian-built Zvezda service module. Flight controllers at the European Space Agency’s ATV Control Center in Toulouse, France, NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston and Russia’s Mission Control Center just outside Moscow are watching over today’s docking along with three astronauts inside the station.  

Click here for a preview of today’s docking activities.

NASA is broadcasting Jules Verne's docking live on NASA TV. You are invited to follow the mission using SPACE.com’s NASA TV, feed, which is available by clicking here or using the button at the left.

-- Tariq Malik


European Space Freighter Begins Final Approach to ISS
3 April 2008 9:57 a.m. EDT

WASHINGTON – Europe’s Jules Verne cargo ship has begun its final approach to the International Space Station and is headed to a new waypoint about 19 meters from orbiting laboratory.

All continues to go well for today’s planned 10:40 a.m. EDT (1440 GMT) docking, though the link up may be deliberately delayed a few minutes to await better lighting conditions, NASA officials said. Jules Verne, Europe’s first unmanned Automated Transfer Vehicle, will dock at the aft end of the station’s Zvezda service module.

Click here for a preview of today’s docking activities.

NASA is broadcasting Jules Verne's docking live on NASA TV. You are invited to follow the mission using SPACE.com’s NASA TV, feed, which is available by clicking here or using the button at the left.

-- Tariq Malik


European Cargo Ship Switches to Laser Guidance
3 April 2008 9:40 a.m. EDT

WASHINGTON – The European cargo ship Jules Verne has switched to its laser-based videometer navigation system for today’s planned 10:40 a.m. EDT (1440 GMT) docking at the International Space Station. The system is a video-based rendezvous set up that analyzes laser reflections to determine Jules Verne’s position from the station.

Station flight engineer Yuri Malenchenko said he can see the spacecraft clearly now in camera views. A final go ahead for today’s docking is expected shortly.

Click here for a preview of today’s docking activities.

NASA is broadcasting Jules Verne's docking live on NASA TV. You are invited to follow the mission using SPACE.com’s NASA TV, feed, which is available by clicking here or using the button at the left.

-- Tariq Malik


Europe’s First Orbital Supply Ship Reaches Waypoint
3 April 2008 9:22 a.m. EDT

WASHINGTON – Europe’s massive Jules Verne cargo ship has reached its new waypoint, about 820 feet (250 meters) off the aft of a docking port at the International Space Station.

The spacecraft will hold its position for about 30 minutes as flight controllers evaluate its systems for today’s planned 10:40 a.m. EDT (1440 GMT) docking. Discussions are still under way on whether to delay the planned rendezvous about 15 minutes to wait for better lighting.

Click here for a preview of today’s docking activities.

NASA is broadcasting Jules Verne's docking live on NASA TV. You are invited to follow the mission using SPACE.com’s NASA TV, feed, which is available by clicking here or using the button at the left.

-- Tariq Malik


European Cargo Ship Approaches ISS
3 April 2008 9:09 a.m. EDT

WASHINGTON – The European Space Agency’s Jules Verne cargo ship is heading to its next waypoint near the International Space Station for today’s planned docking.

Now closing toward a 500-meter mark off the station’s aft, the spacecraft is clearly visible and backdropped by a bright blue Earth littered with white clouds. Today’s planned docking, the first ever for the Europe’s Automated Transfer Vehicle class of spacecraft.

Russian cosmonaut Yuri Malanechenko aboard the station is now watching over Jules Verne’s systems and will be ready to command it to back away to a safe distance should it stray off course.

Click here for a preview of today’s docking activities.

NASA is broadcasting Jules Verne's docking live on NASA TV. You are invited to follow the mission using SPACE.com’s NASA TV, feed, which is available by clicking here or using the button at the left.

-- Tariq Malik


Space Freighter Closes in on Space Station
3 April 2008 8:40 a.m. EDT

Europe's double-decker bus-sized Jules Verne spacecraft has fired its thrusters to begin closing in on the International Space Station (ISS) from about 2 miles (3.5 km) away.

Mission controllers have activated the 21-ton cargo ship's radar-based system and the space station crew are monitoring the data.

Three Mission Control Centers – one each in France, the United States and Russia – are coordinating today's automated docking at the ISS, which is anticipated for 10:40 a.m. EDT (1440 GMT).

 Click here for a preview of today’s docking activities.

NASA is broadcasting Jules Verne's docking live on NASA TV. You are invited to follow the mission using SPACE.com’s NASA TV, feed, which is available by clicking here or using the button at the left.

-- Dave Mosher


European Cargo Ship Set for ISS Arrival
3 April 2008 8:13 a.m. EDT

WASHINGTON – The European cargo ship Jules Verne is on track for its inaugural arrival at the International Space Station (ISS) later today, though flight controllers may delay the planned 10:40 a.m. EDT (1440 GMT) docking to wait for better lighting.

The massive 21-ton spacecraft is waiting about 2 miles (3.5 km) behind the station to begin its final approach.

Click here for a preview of today’s docking activities.

NASA is broadcasting Jules Verne's docking live on NASA TV. You are invited to follow the mission using SPACE.com’s NASA TV, feed, which is available by clicking here or using the button at the left.

-- Tariq Malik


European Space Freighter Passes Dress Rehearsal
31 March 2008 12:54 p.m. EDT

International Space Station (ISS) spaceflyer Yuri Malenchenko sent escape commands to Europe's "Jules Verne" cargo ship, sending the spacecraft jetting away from and below the ISS.

The planned maneuver for the automated transport vehicle, or ATV, ends a second and final dress rehearsal before the spacecraft's anticipated docking with the ISS on Thursday, April 3.

Stay tuned to SPACE.com for a wrap-up of today's Jules Verne activities at the International Space Station.

-- Dave Mosher


'Jules Verne' Space Freighter Readies for Test Escape Maneuver
31 March 2008 12:48 p.m. EDT

The European Space Agency's double-decker bus-sized "Jules Verne" cargo ship has returned to a point 62 feet (19 m) away from the International Space Station (ISS).

If the spacecraft successfully executes an escape maneuver below the ISS in a few minutes, it will wrap up the second and final day of testing and prime the ship for an April 3rd docking.

NASA is broadcasting Jules Verne's docking maneuvers live on NASA TV. You are invited to follow the mission using SPACE.com’s NASA TV, feed, which is available by clicking here or using the button at the left.

-- Dave Mosher


Space Freighter Parks in Front of Space Station at Closest Point
31 March 2008 12:35 p.m. EDT

The double-decker bus-sized "Jules Verne" space freighter has now inched its way within 36 feet (11 m) of the International Space Station.

Now that it has parked itself in front of the aft docking port of the space station's Zvezda service module using laser and video data, the autonomous 21-ton European cargo ship will soon retreat to 62 feet (19 m) and perform a test escape maneuver.

Russian and U.S. spaceflyers on orbit are monitoring the day's activities – the second of two pre-docking "demo" days – which are required before the ship can latch onto the space station on April 3.

NASA is broadcasting Jules Verne's docking maneuvers live on NASA TV. You are invited to follow the mission using SPACE.com’s NASA TV, feed, which is available by clicking here or using the button at the left.

-- Dave Mosher


European Space Freighter Closes in on Space Station
31 March 2008 12:17 p.m. EDT

Weighing in at 21 tons, Europe's "Jules Verne" cargo spaceship is now about 62 feet (19 m) from the International Space Station.

Spaceflyers on board the ISS are monitoring the second day of pre-docking tests, which are required before the ship can latch onto the Zvezda service module on Thursday.

The craft is large enough to fit a double-decker bus inside of it.

NASA is broadcasting Jules Verne's docking maneuvers live on NASA TV. You are invited to follow the mission using SPACE.com’s NASA TV, feed, which is available by clicking here or using the button at the left.

-- Dave Mosher


Giant Cargo Spaceship Backs Away from Space Station
31 March 2008 11:57 a.m. EDT

The European Space Agency's "Jules Verne" space freighter has slowly backed away from the International Space Station (ISS) to a point about 600 feet (183 m) away. It is now being sent commands to move back toward the massive orbital laboratory.

Crewmembers on board the ISS issued the command, one of many of a series of tests today before the 21-ton cargo ship can dock at the space station on April 3.

NASA is broadcasting Jules Verne's docking maneuvers live on NASA TV. You are invited to follow the mission using SPACE.com’s NASA TV, feed, which is available by clicking here or using the button at the left.

-- Dave Mosher


European Space Freighter Orients Toward Orbital Laboratory
31 March 2008 11:33 a.m. EDT

Looking something like an overweight X-Wing fighter from the movie "Star Wars," the European "Jules Verne" cargo ship has successfully oriented itself toward the aft end of the International Space Station's Zvezda service module.

In about 15 minutes, ISS flight engineer Yuri Malenchenko will issue a short retreat command for the 21-ton freighter. The European Space Agency spacecraft, designed to deliver three times the cargo of Russian Progress cargo ships, is successfully relaying video-based data that it uses to guide itself toward the space laboratory.

Jules Verne is set dock with the space station on April 3 if today's intensive round of tests – the second of two planned – goes well.

NASA is broadcasting Jules Verne's docking maneuvers live on NASA TV. You are invited to follow the mission using SPACE.com’s NASA TV, feed, which is available by clicking here or using the button at the left.

-- Dave Mosher


Space Cargo Ship Creeps Toward Space Station
31 March 2008 11:10 a.m. EDT

Using lasers, video cameras and other devices, Europe's autonomous "Jules Verne" cargo ship has closed in within 820 feet (250 m) of the International Space Station (ISS).

Spaceflyers on board the ISS are watching today's activities from the Zvezda service module and reporting their views of the 21-ton spacecraft to three mission control centers: one at Johnson Space Center in Houston, another in Toulouse, France, and a third in Russia.

Now that the craft has arrived at the "S3" stationary point, it will gear up for a short retreat test that is anticipated to occur around 11:53 a.m. EDT (1553 GMT).

Jules Verne is set dock with the space station on April 3 if today's intensive round of tests – the second of two planned – goes well.

NASA is broadcasting Jules Verne's docking maneuvers live on NASA TV. You are invited to follow the mission using SPACE.com’s NASA TV, feed, which is available by clicking here or using the button at the left.

-- Dave Mosher


Commands Sent to Automated Cargo Spaceship
31 March 2008 10:30 a.m. EDT

Mission controllers at the European Mission Control Center in Toulouse, France have sent commands to begin today's pre-docking tests of the "Jules Verne" spacecraft.

Now 2 miles (3.2 km) and closing from the International Space Station, the 21-ton cargo freighter is propelling itself to a spot about 820 feet (250 m) from the orbital laboratory. It is using twin laser beams to estimate its distance.

Jules Verne is set dock with the space station on April 3 if today's intensive round of tests – the second of two planned – goes well.

NASA is broadcasting Jules Verne's docking maneuvers live on NASA TV. You are invited to follow the mission using SPACE.com’s NASA TV, feed, which is available by clicking here or using the button at the left.

-- Dave Mosher


European Space Freighter to Conduct Final Tests Today
31 March 2008 10:08 a.m. EDT

Following successful operations on Thursday, the European Space Agency's "Jules Verne" space freighter is now poised to begin its second and final day of pre-docking demonstrations more than 210 miles (338 km) above the Earth.

The 21-ton spacecraft, which can fit a double-decker bus inside, is set to inch within 36 feet (11 m) of the International Space Station today and perform detailed communications and abort tests. It is now about 2 miles (3.2 km) behind the orbital laboratory.

NASA is broadcasting Jules Verne's docking maneuvers live on NASA TV. You are invited to follow the mission using SPACE.com’s NASA TV, feed, which is available by clicking here or using the button at the left.

-- Dave Mosher


European Cargo Ship Suffers Propulsion Glitch
09 March 2008 2:45 p.m. EDT

Although Europe's first fully-automated cargo ship successfully launched into orbit above the Earth Saturday night, an on-board computer has detected a problem with the mix of propellant in the spacecraft. The European Space Agency (ESA) has suspended all burning of propellant until the issue can be fully investigated.

"Engineers … are evaluating and [analyzing] the data coming from the spacecraft and are assessing the consequences, if any, in the immediate planning," according to an ESA statement released today.

The glitch shut down a unit controlling one-fourth of the maneuvering thrusters on the 21-ton spacecraft, as the ESA said it was designed to do in such an event. Whether or not the Jules Verne can complete its two "demo days" scheduled for March 29 and 31 and safely attempt to dock with the International Space Station (ISS) in April remains to be seen.

Stay tuned to SPACE.com for updates as more details are released.

-- Dave Mosher


Spacecraft Separation! Europe's ISS Cargo Ship Jules Verne Reaches Orbit
09 March 2008 12:13 a.m. EST

The European Space Agency's (ESA) Jules Verne cargo ship has successfully separated from its Ariane 5 rocket upper stage to enter orbit. Cheers and applause broke out at the spacecraft's launch control at Europe's Kourou, French Guiana-based spaceport.

The spacecraft separated from its upper stage on time at about 12:10 a.m. EST (0510 GMT) and is expected to deploy its four solar arrays shortly. A new ESA Mission Control Center in Toulouse, France will oversee the spacecraft during its planned four week shakedown cruise to the International Space Station.

A wrap up of today's launch will be posted to SPACE.com's homepage shortly.

NASA is broadcasting Jules Verne's countdown to launch live on NASA TV. You are invited to follow the mission using SPACE.com’s NASA TV, feed, which is available by clicking here or using the button at the left.

-- Tariq Malik


Jules Verne Cargo Ship's Flight Going Well
08 March 2008 11:50 p.m. EST

The inaugural flight of Europe's Jules Verne spacecraft is going well as the upper stage of its Ariane 5 booster prepares to reignite for its second and final burn. That engine burn is slated to begin at 12:05 a.m. EST (0505 GMT). Tonight's maiden launch of Jules Verne occurred on time at 11:03 p.m. EST (0403 March 9 GMT).

NASA is broadcasting Jules Verne's countdown to launch live on NASA TV. You are invited to follow the mission using SPACE.com’s NASA TV, feed, which is available by clicking here or using the button at the left.

-- Tariq Malik


Jules Verne Cargo Ship Coasts Through Space

08 March 2008 11:20 p.m. EST

The upper stage of the Ariane 5 rocket carrying Europe's ISS cargo ship Jules Verne toward its final orbit has entered a coast phase. The spacecraft is slated ot reignite its upper stage at about 12:05 a.m. EST (0505 GMT) for the second, and final, burn to place Jules Verne into its final orbit. Spacecraft separation is slated for about 66 minutes after liftoff.

NASA is broadcasting Jules Verne's countdown to launch live on NASA TV. You are invited to follow the mission using SPACE.com’s NASA TV, feed, which is available by clicking here or using the button at the left.

-- Tariq Malik


Jules Verne Cargo Ship's Ariane 5 Rocket Ignites Upper Stage
08 March 2008 11:13 p.m. EST

 

The upper stage of the Ariane 5 rocket hauling Europe's ISS cargo ship Jules Verne into orbit has ignited after tonight's successful launch of the spacecraft at 11:03 p.m. EST. The engine burn is the first of two planned maneuvers to place the 21-ton Jules Verne in a parking orbit for its planned four-week shakedown flight to the ISS.

NASA is broadcasting Jules Verne's countdown to launch live on NASA TV. You are invited to follow the mission using SPACE.com’s NASA TV, feed, which is available by clicking here or using the button at the left.

-- Tariq Malik


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