Jules Verne ATV launch approaching

February 11, 2008
Jules Verne ATV launch approaching
Preview of the maiden launch and docking of ESA's Jules Verne ATV. Jules Verne will be lifted into space on board an Ariane 5 launch vehicle. Credits: ESA - D. Ducros

After the successful launch of ESA’s Columbus laboratory aboard Space Shuttle Atlantis on Thursday (7 February), it is now time to focus on the next imminent milestone for ESA: the launch of Jules Verne, the first Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) to be sent to the International Space Station.

The 20-tonne European resupply and space-tug module will be carried into orbit by a special version of the Ariane 5 launch vehicle. The launcher, operated by Arianespace, is now scheduled to lift off from Europe’s spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, on 8 March at 01:23 local time, 05:23 CET.

From 2008 onward, ESA’s Automated Transfer Vehicle will be one of the space station’s supply spacecraft, delivering experiments, equipment and spare parts, as well as food, air and water for its permanent crew.

Constructed by EADS-Astrium, the ATV, which is the most powerful automatic spaceship ever built, will carry up to 9 tonnes of cargo to the station as it orbits 400 km above the Earth.

Equipped with its own propulsion and navigation systems, the ATV is a multi-functional spacecraft, combining the fully automatic capabilities of an unmanned vehicle with the safety requirements of a crewed vehicle . Its mission in space will resemble that, on the ground, of a truck (the ATV) delivering goods and services to a research establishment (the space station).

A new-generation high-precision navigation system will guide the ATV on a rendezvous trajectory towards the station. In early April, Jules Verne will automatically dock with the station’s Russian Service Module, following a number of specific operations and manoeuvres (on 'Demonstration Days') to show that the vehicle is performing as planned in nominal and contingency situations.

It will remain there as a pressurised and integral part of the station for up to six months until a controlled re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere takes place, during which it will burn up and, in the process, dispose of 6.3 tonnes of waste material no longer needed on the station.

Source: European Space Agency

Explore further: ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti back on Earth

Related Stories

ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti back on Earth

June 12, 2015

ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti, NASA astronaut Terry Virts and Russian commander Anton Shkaplerov landed safely today in the Kazakh steppe after a three-hour ride in their Soyuz spacecraft. They left the International ...

Space freighter burns up in suicide dive

October 3, 2012

A giant supply ship burned up over the South Pacific early Wednesday in a self-destruct operation after a six-month mission to the International Space Station, the European Space Agency (ESA) said.

Space freighter starts suicide plunge: ESA

October 2, 2012

A bus-sized craft that had delivered food to the International Space Station will re-enter Earth's atmosphere overnight for a controlled implosion over the South Pacific, the European Space Agency said Tuesday.

Europe destroys last space truck to ISS

February 15, 2015

The European Space Agency (ESA) on Sunday said it had destroyed its last supply ship to the International Space Station, bringing a seven-year venture to a successful close.

Recommended for you

Astronomers detect the farthest galaxy yet with Keck telescope

September 4, 2015

A team of Caltech researchers that has spent years searching for the earliest objects in the universe now reports the detection of what may be the most distant galaxy ever found. In an article published August 28, 2015 in Astrophysical ...

"Hedgehog" robots hop, tumble in microgravity

September 4, 2015

Hopping, tumbling and flipping over are not typical maneuvers you would expect from a spacecraft exploring other worlds. Traditional Mars rovers, for example, roll around on wheels, and they can't operate upside-down. But ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.