Ariane 5 is ready for liftoff on Arianespace’s heavy-lift mission with ATV Albert Einstein
The Ariane 5 with its record-setting heavyweight payload has rolled out in French Guiana, setting the stage for Arianespace’s Flight VA213 tomorrow evening with Europe’s fourth Automated Transfer Vehicle on a servicing mission to the International Space Station.
Emerging from the Spaceport’s Final Assembly Building in bright sunlight, the Ariane 5 was transferred on a mobile table to the ELA-3 launch zone, where it is now poised for the June 5 liftoff. This launch is set at the precise moment of 6:52:11 p.m. local time in French Guiana, which has been calculated for its orbital phasing to rendezvous with the International Space Station.
With a liftoff mass of 20,235 kg., the ATV – named after Albert Einstein – will be the heaviest payload ever orbited by an Ariane launcher. Following its in-orbit checkout, ATV Albert Einstein is scheduled to make an automatic docking at the International Space Station on June 15.
Flight VA213 will be the 213th launch with Europe’s series of Ariane vehicles since operations began in 1979, and is the heavy-lift Ariane 5 version’s 69th flight.
Tomorrow’s mission to deploy ATV Albert Einstein will have a duration of just under 1 hour and 4 minutes, with propulsion provided by Ariane 5’s core cryogenic stage and its two solid propellant boosters, along with the EPS storable propellant upper stage – which is to perform two burns prior to separating the payload.
This latest Automated Transfer Vehicle has been loaded with cargo that includes scientific experiments, water, gases, propellant, spare parts, food and supplies. It is the fourth ATV entrusted to Arianespace for launch. The other three were orbited by Ariane 5 launchers in March 2008, February 2011 and March 2012.
The ATVs have been developed in a European Space Agency-managed program, with their production performed by an Astrium-led industrial consortium.