New launch date set for ISS delivery vessel

July 22, 2014
A picture released by the European Space Agency on February 14, 2011 shows an Ariane 5 ES rocket rolled out to the launch zone at the Arianespace spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana

A robot ship will be launched from Kourou, French Guiana, after a five-day delay on July 29 to deliver provisions to the International Space Station, space transport firm Arianespace said Tuesday.

The new date follows "the completion of complimentary verifications and control measures" of the Ariane 5 ES launcher that will bear the vessel aloft, it said in a statement.

The launch will take place at 8:44 pm Kourou time (2344 GMT).

The Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) dubbed "Georges Lemaitre" is the last of five supply ships Europe was scheduled to provide to the ISS.

The size of a double-decker bus, the cylindrical ATV modules use onboard motors and starlight navigation to rendezvous and dock with the ISS in Earth orbit.

They bring food, water, fuel, oxygen, experiments and treats for the six crew members, and provide much-appreciated additional living space.

At the end of a mission usually lasting several months, they undock from the ISS and burn up in the atmosphere in a controlled de-orbit.

The fifth ship, which will carry the heaviest cargo yet with over 2.6 tonnes (6,700 pounds) of dry goods, 850 litres of potable water and three tonnes of fuel, is named after the Belgian cosmologist who fathered the concept of the Big Bang that created the Universe.

After the last ATV flight, the ISS will be resupplied by Russia's Progress freighter and fledgling US private contractors.

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