Ariane 5 launcher hardware arrives for Arianespace’s next Automated Transfer Vehicle mission
Hardware for the Ariane 5 that will launch Europe’s fifth Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) has been delivered to the Spaceport, where it will be readied to orbit the resupply craft on another of Arianespace’s International Space Station servicing missions.
Among the components delivered to French Guiana this week was the Ariane 5’s cryogenic core stage, which arrived aboard the MN Toucan – one of two sea-going ships utilized by Arianespace to transport launch vehicle elements from Europe to South America.
This upcoming mission – which is included in Arianespace’s 2014 launch manifest – will employ an Ariane 5 ES version of its workhorse heavy-lift launcher.
The fifth 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. ATV Georges Lemaître currently is located at the Spaceport, where its pre-flight integration and checkout began late last year.
All ATVs have been orbited by Ariane 5 launchers, beginning with “Jules Verne” in March 2008, which was followed by “Johannes Kepler” in February 2011, “Edoardo Amaldi” in March 2012, and last June’s flight with “Albert Einstein.”
Managed by the European Space Agency (ESA), the ATV program is part of Europe’s contribution to the International Space Station’s creation and operation.