“This event helps people in less prominent positions to feel that their work is truly important to the company.” Winner of the Great Innovator category at the EADS Hall of Fame 2009, André Cariou is Senior Advisor for system engineering and space systems design to the Astrium Chief Technical Officer at Les Mureaux, France. The prize he was awarded is given to those who have led technology innovation projects during the previous two years, or have been winners in a recent divisional awards scheme. Their work has helped to generate significant increases in revenue or to gain a competitive advantage.
André Cariou, a shy and modest man, who has notched up an impressive 40 years of experience, significantly improved the concept and design of the ATV power supply, distribution systems as well as the vehicle’s actual design. His work helped to give to the ATV the required simplicity and robustness, while he also contributed to the development of key technologies including active thermal control. “André enabled us to define a new power architecture,” concludes his colleague Pierre Casiez.
Great Innovator 2009: André Cariou
The most perfect docking
Based on technologies that had never been put into practice before, the first ATV, named ‘Jules Verne’, docked with the International Space Station on its first attempt in April 2008 with an astonishing 7cm margin of error, having flown at 25,000 km/h. “NASA was sceptical that we could achieve that kind of performance,” recalls Cariou, who always felt attracted by space, “especially when I first saw the film ‘2001: A Space Odyssey," he recalls.
The second ATV mission, ‘Johannes Kepler’, was launched on 16 February 2011 by an Ariane 5 (the 200th Ariane flight). In the long term, thanks to these successes, the technologies introduced by André Cariou will be key assets in competitive bids for future orbital manned or unmanned spacecraft for the European Space Agency and for future solar system explorations. “The cosmos is a fascinating place because it helps us to steadily learn more about ourselves,” remarks Cariou.
Did you know…?
The ATV, which takes supplies to the International Space Station, stays docked for around six months and is filled with 6.4 tonnes of waste material, before being undocked and burning up in the Earth’s atmosphere.