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[b]NASA Airs New Spacecraft's Maneuvers and Docking to Space Station[/b]
Less than three weeks after its maiden launch, the European Space Agency's Jules Verne Automated Transfer Vehicle, or ATV, is set to begin a series of automated approaches and make an eventual docking with the International Space Station. [URL=http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/nasatv/index.html]NASA Television[/URL] will broadcast the most critical maneuvers on March 31 and April 3, with commentary from NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston.
During the docking, the spacecraft will be controlled by engineers at the ESA ATV Control Center in Toulouse, France, working with flight controllers at the Russian Mission Control Center in Korolev, outside Moscow, and at Johnson. On March 31, NASA TV coverage will begin at 9 a.m. CDT as the ATV begins an approach to the station from two miles away. A series of engine firings will bring the cargo ship to within 36 feet of the station before the Expedition 16 crew sends an abort command to move the ATV away from the complex for its final approach three days later. These maneuvers will test all of the ATV's vital systems, which are required for a safe automated linkup to the station.
On April 3, NASA TV coverage will begin at 7 a.m. as the cargo ship closes in for docking to the rear port of the station's Zvezda service module. Docking is scheduled for 9:40 a.m. A briefing with NASA Flight Director Brian Smith will air on NASA TV at 11:30 a.m.
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