HTV meetings

Written by Bob McCormick on 8/22/2006 07:16:00 AM

I'm not slated to support STS-115, but I am assigned to support the flights that will be used to develop the Japanese portion of the ISS.

To that end, I am currently supporting a meeting (here in Houston) with my operational counterparts to discuss how the HTV (short for "H II Transfer Vehicle") will rendezvous, dock, and operate with the ISS while attached. The first demonstration mission is slated for 2009, which is quite a way off - but there's plenty of work to be done in preparation for it. Thus, the need for the meeting, to coordinate efforts between JAXA (the Japanese Space Agency) and NASA.

I say the HTV will "dock", but in reaity, it's more like a "capture" and an "installation" operation. Unlike the Russian Soyuz or Progress modules (or the Space Shuttle), the HTV will not fly all the way in to the docking port. Instead, the HTV will fly to a hold point, and then will be captured by the Space Station robotic arm, followed by HTV "installation" on the berthing port. This is the first time this will have been done, so there's obviously a lot of work involved in making sure this can be performed.

My job, with the help of my planning partners in Japan and the input of many system experts, is to develop the timeline to see how all this lays out. We're in the process of developing two timelines - one for rendezvous and installation, and another one for the attached phase. We plan on spending the bulk of this week coordinating our efforts, and should have a solid timeline coming out of the meetings (or a plan on how to get there).

Time to get to work!

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