Italian physicist honoured by European space truck

Mar 16, 2010
This picture, released by the European Space Agency in 2008, shows ESA's Jules Verne Automated Transfer Vehicle. Europe's third space freighter will be named after Italian physicist Edoardo Amaldi, the ESA said on Tuesday.

Europe's third space freighter will be named after Italian physicist Edoardo Amaldi, the European Space Agency (ESA) said on Tuesday.

Amaldi was one of a group of young scientists, led by Enrico Fermi, which discovered "slow neutrons" in the 1930s, paving the way to the first nuclear reactor.

He later contributed to research in , and gravitational waves.

ESA's first automated transfer vehicle (ATV), named after the French forerunner of science fiction, Jules Verne, was launched in 2008.

The second, honouring the German astronomer Johannes Kepler, is to be hoisted aloft later this year.

The ATV is an unmanned craft designed to dock automatically with the (ISS), bringing six and a half tonnes of food, water, supplies and equipment and serving as temporary quarters for six months.

In its present design, the ATV is sent on a one-way trip, decoupling from the ISS at the end of its mission before being destroyed by burnup in Earth's atmosphere.

ESA is exploring whether the vehicle can be adapted to bring back cargo and experiments or even astronauts.

Explore further: Red moon at night; stargazer's delight

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User comments : 3

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yyz
not rated yet Mar 16, 2010
It will be interesting to see if these amazing automated supply ships can be adapted & man-rated to haul astronauts (...or cosmonauts) to and from the ISS.
RoboticExplorer
not rated yet Mar 16, 2010
It will be interesting to see if these amazing automated supply ships can be adapted & man-rated to haul astronauts (...or cosmonauts) to and from the ISS.


I imagine this would be a good alternative to the Soyuz option if it becomes available. Its always good to have a plan B.
probes
1 / 5 (1) Mar 17, 2010
The ATV supply ships could be adapted by fitting VASIMR engines. An ATV with a 200KW VASIMR could be launched from the ISS ot Mars. This would probably take about 3.9 weeks.

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