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ExoLance
ATV propulsion glitch resolved
Posted: Wed, Mar 12, 2008, 5:46 AM ET (0946 GMT)
ATV illustration (ESA) European engineers have resolved a problem with the propulsion system on the first ATV cargo spacecraft, keeping the mission on track for a docking with the International Space Station next month. Shortly after its launch early Sunday, spacecraft controllers noticed a problem with the primary propulsion system on the ATV, where a "significant difference" in pressure between the fuel and oxidizer in the primary propulsion system caused computers on the spacecraft to shut it down. Engineers uplinked new commands to the spacecraft's electronics and, after shutting down the spacecraft's entire propulsion system, turned it back on successfully. The ATV performed a series of maneuvers on Tuesday that confirmed the propulsion system was working well. The spacecraft, the first in a series of European robotic cargo spacecraft, is still scheduled to dock with the ISS in early April after performing a number of approach and rendezvous tests after the current shuttle mission.
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