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The spacecraft on board computers detected a slight difference in pressure between the oxidizer and the fuel that compose the propellant. This caused the ATV to immediately switch over to the second of four propulsion chains, as it is designed to do.
Engineers at the Control Centre in Toulouse and at the prime contractor premises EADS-Astrium in Les Mureaux are evaluating and analysing the data coming from the spacecraft and are assessing the consequences, if any, in the immediate planning.
[i]"When we started re-priming the [propulsion] system, we found on one of the chains we had slightly off-nominal behavior on one of the propulsion chains. And so immediately, as planned, the spacecraft switched itself on to the other chain, which was completely nominal. This is the way the electronics are set up and that is why we have got all this redundancy. So we actually had this switch over from one chain to the other, and obviously we're looking at that. It looked as though there was a difference of pressures between the two chains, the mon and the MMH, the oxidizer and the fuel. We're looking at why that should be on that chain and that's actually what we are looking at now."[/i]
[i]"The electronic box that drives that has to be reconfigured, and we're now looking in the next few days how we are going to reconfigure that. We're actually going to do so some tests... to see how we do that because it goes into a configuration, there are so many configurations that it can go into that we haven't tested them all. But we'll be doing that over the next few days," said Thirkettle.
"So our idea is to reintegrate the electronics that switch from one channel to the other sometime in the next few days and at that time we should be able to see what is the problem with the first propulsion chain that we switched from."[/i]
[i]"We will be a bit cautious now because we are now on a redundant chain, so we don't want to go on to another redundant chain. So we're sitting and thinking about it. We're not in a rush to do maneuvers. It is not a danger per say, but whether we immediately go and do everything that we planned over the next few days -- we do have margin of course, as I was saying yesterday we have the 10 day margin before we need to start going into demo days at the end of the month -- so we're thinking now what we will do immediately. I suspect we are going to do our first boost maneuver today and we are discussing in Toulouse if we do it or delay it a bit. It doesn't really make a difference. My preference is to delay just to make sure we know what is going on."[/i]
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