Ariane 5 arrives in French Guiana for Arianespace’s fourth launch of an Automated Transfer Vehicle
The Ariane 5 for Arianespace’s upcoming flight with an Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) resupply spacecraft has arrived in French Guiana, maintaining the mission pace for this industry-leading launcher.
After completing a trans-Atlantic voyage on one of two roll-on/roll-off ships used in the transportation of Arianespace launch vehicles, the Ariane 5 was delivered to Pariacabo Port this week and transferred in a vehicle convoy to the nearby Spaceport.
Scheduled for the spring as Arianespace’s second heavy-lift launch in 2013, the flight will orbit ATV Albert Einstein – Europe’s fourth spacecraft for resupply of the International Space Station.
The mission is designated as Flight VA213, signifying the 213th launch of an Ariane from French Guiana since the family’s maiden liftoff in 1979. Its ATV Albert Einstein passenger is undergoing checkout in the Spaceport’s S5 payload processing facility, where the resupply craft recently took shape with the mating of its Integrated Cargo Carrier section and Service Module.
Developed under responsibility of the European Space Agency, the ATV series of spacecraft is produced by an Astrium-led industry team. The first ATV was orbited by Ariane 5 in March 2008, followed by launches of the two others in February 2011 and March 2012.