ESA’s head of the future transport and infrastructure division, Marco Caporicci, has provided Hyperbola with further information about the agency’s plans for its Automated Transfer Vehicle Advanced Return Vehicle (ARV) that could become the basis for a manned capsule
If approved when could you start the new ARV work?
The ARV activities, if approved at the Ministerial Council will start in the March 2009 time frame. Preliminary work is already being performed in preparation of the ESA proposal to the Ministerial Council
Would this help you resolve the issue that you ordered nine EADS Astrium Ariane 5 ECAs from Arianespace originally for ATV?
It could, but the situation is more complex and linked to the final decisions on the life duration of the ISS. More ATV’s could be considered in that frame, even before discussing the ARV
How frequently would ARV be needed both for delivery and downmass on an annual basis or over the currently planned life time of the ISS?
If the maintenance approach of the ISS, initially based on refurbishable ORU’s, is changed the download is essentially linked to the results of the scientific experiments. We think of a mission every year or year and half as for ATV
Where would the return capsule land?
Probably we would choose to ditch it in water, off the western coast of Africa. But this is part of the studies
Would the provision of downmass capability possibly secure more ESA astronaut time on ISS?
In principle one could think so, but I would expect that the scientists would not like to wait for the download and would ask the astronauts to perform on board all possible analyses in the meantime