Ariane 5 is fully-assembled for next week’s Arianespace mission with ATV Georges Lemaître
The Ariane 5 that will carry Europe’s fifth, and final, Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) is now complete at the Spaceport following installation of its payload fairing – marking a key milestone as preparations continue for Arianespace’s July 24 mission from French Guiana.
Integration of this launch vehicle component – which is designed to protect the ATV payload during its initial ascent through the atmosphere – was performed at the Spaceport’s Final Assembly Building.
After its launch by Ariane 5, the Automated Transfer Vehicle – designated “Georges Lemaître” after the Belgian physicist and father of the Big Bang theory – will resupply the International Space Station, perform maneuvers to maintain this manned facility’s nominal orbit and test new rendezvous sensors in space.
Ariane 5 launchers have orbited all of Europe’s ATVs, beginning with “Jules Verne” in March 2008, which was followed by “Johannes Kepler” in February 2011, “Edoardo Amaldi” in March 2012 and “Albert Einstein” in June 2013.
Arianespace’s latest ATV mission in support of International Space Station operations is designated Flight VA219 in the company’s numbering system, and will utilize an Ariane 5 ES version of the heavy-lift workhorse.
Managed by the European Space Agency, the ATV program is part of Europe’s contribution to the International Space Station’s operation. The Automated Transfer Vehicle’s prime contractor is Airbus Defence and Space, which also has the role as Ariane 5 industrial architect.