The Ariane 5 flight with ATV Albert Einstein enters its final countdown for liftoff tonight
Arianespace’s fourth resupply mission for the International Space Station has entered its final countdown phase at the Spaceport in French Guiana, marking a key step toward tonight’s Ariane 5 liftoff with a record-setting Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) payload.
During a flight lasting just over one hour – which includes two burns of the launcher’s EPS storable propellant upper stage – the ATV will be deployed into a 260-km. circular orbit. Ariane 5’s liftoff from the Spaceport is set at 6:52:11 p.m. local time in French Guiana, with the precise timing required for the ATV’s orbital positioning to dock with the International Space Station.
The ATV – which is named after German-born physicist Albert Einstein – will be the heaviest payload ever orbited by an Ariane launcher, with a liftoff mass of 20,235 kg. Following its in-orbit checkout, ATV Albert Einstein is scheduled to make an automatic docking at the International Space Station on June 15.
This latest Automated Transfer Vehicle has been loaded with cargo that includes scientific experiments, water, gases, propellant, spare parts, food and supplies, and is the fourth ATV entrusted to Arianespace for launch. The other three were orbited by Ariane 5 vehicles in March 2008, February 2011 and March 2012.
The European Space Agency manages the ATV program, with an Astrium-led industry consortium responsible for producing the resupply spacecraft.