ATV - made in? - ATV: made in Belgium
Space Applications Services (SAS) based in Zaventem has been involved since the very beginning of ATV, back in 1994. SAS has supported the entire development of the ATV system through all phases of the mission. from preparations on the ground and launch up to the rendezvous and docking with the International Space Station. SAS even played a key part in training the astronauts, designing the training courses and simulators.
Euro Heat Pipes is a company that does one thing well: designing and producing pipes to control temperature in spacecraft (as the name implies). Thanks to the work of Euro Heat Pipes, ATV does not overheat in the harsh atmosphere of space. Pipes transfer heat from the electronics to the external cooling panels.
Thales Alenia Spaceis a multinational consortium and will be mentioned in further posts. Their Belgian offices, in particular their Hoboken centre, supported testing and simulation and were also involved in ATV communication devices. Thales Alenia Space in Charleroi contributed to building the power supply on ATV and the video feed used in the docking process.
Aside from the preparation phase, Belgian industry plays a significant role in the operation of individual missions.
ESA's 15m tracking station in Belgium, located at the Redu Centre, relays information from ATV to the mission control centre (ATV-CC) in Toulouse, France. At ATV-CC, one of the most experienced ESA mission directors is Kris Capelle. Kris has previously supported more than 15 launches from ESOC, ESA's Space Operations Centre in Darmstadt, Germany, as well as the previous ATVs from Toulouse. And, you guessed it, he is Belgian by nationality.
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