A special passenger was on board during the launch of ESA's fourth Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV), 'Albert Einstein', on 5 June 2013 at 23:52 CEST – the STEREX experiment, funded by the DLR Space Administration and the European Space Agency (ESA). The heart of this system consists of four cameras incorporated into the Ariane 5. Two of these cameras recorded the separation of ATV-4 for the first time in 3D. The video data received last night at the DLR ground station in Weilheim was recorded, and presented, firstly, in a two-dimensional video format, from the launch to the separation of the European cargo vehicle. The 3D video will be shown in the next few days on the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) website.
"These images give us a new perspective on the dynamic processes taking place during the separation of the ATV from the Ariane, which will help us to better understand and analyse these processes," comments Thomas Ruwwe, pleased and relieved at the same time. The video documents the launch of the Ariane 5 ES rocket from Europe's Spaceport in French Guiana, the separation of the boosters and the main stage, ignition of the upper stage, and then the flight of the detached ATV-4 into Earth orbit.
It is the first footage of an Ariane launch taken on board the rocket itself since 2006.