Goodbye, Jules Verne

Remember Jules Verne? The ESA Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) that visited the International Space Station (ISS) last April?

After a flawless six months mission, Jules Verne undocked from ISS early this month and after 23 days flight above our sky, it is now heading for a controlled destructive re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere later today.

Jules Verne

Backdropped by the Earth, ESA’s Jules Verne ATV continues its relative separation from the International Space Station. The ATV undocked from ISS on September 5 and scheduled re-enter Earth’s atmosphere on September 29. Credit: NASA

Jules Verne has surpasses all expectations: it successfully performed a fully-automated docking with the ISS; delivered the necessary supplies to the space station; re-boosted the station to higher orbit due to atmospheric drag; performing an debris avoidance manoeuvre for ISS; removing waste and garbage from the space station; provided a new hygiene station and even sleeping quarters. The ATV has truly demonstrated all its key capabilities, and more.

The ATV will enter the atmosphere over a completely inhabited area of the South Pacific to be viewable from the ISS. This huge “fireball” will also be observed by two specially-equipped observation aircraft to be deployed at monitoring locations in the region.

It’s a sad ending for such a wonderful spacecraft, and it seems like a waste just to burn it up like that… but this was what Jules Verne designed to be – a disposable, single-use re-supply ship for the space station.

As it dives into our atmosphere for a fiery end later today, we can only look up and say: “Goodbye Jules Verne…” (although I don’t think we can see it)

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~ by thChieh on September 29, 2008.

One Response to “Goodbye, Jules Verne”

  1. […] Fiery End of Jules Verne Jules Verne successfully completed its six-month mission when it re-entered our atmosphere and burned up over the South […]

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