Analysis of Automated Transfer Vehicle Reentry Observations

Grant #: NNX10AH19A
Senior Scientist: Peter Jenniskens

This cooperative agreement is to support the post-flight analysis of spectroscopic data obtained in an observing campaign to study the fragmentation and ablation of ESA’s first Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV), called “Jules Verne”, when it entered Earth’s atmosphere. ATV was a new re-supply ship for the International Space Station (ISS). After completing delivery of goods to the ISS, ATV re-entered Earth’s atmosphere on September 29, 2008. The controlled reentry of the 13-ton mass at a speed of about 7.6 km/s created a bright meteor, which exploded and fell into pieces. The observations provided ground truth for fragmentation models of reentry vehicles that can address the safe destructive return of future ATV and other large disposable space vehicles. The new work is an extension of the reentry observing campaign executed in September and October of 2008 under cooperative agreement NNA06CA84A. The new work specifically pertains to the analysis of spectroscopic data obtained during this campaign.