Feature story

Feature story

The Spaceport welcomes Europe's no. 2 Automated Transfer Vehicle for launch on Ariane 5

June 18, 2010

The ATV’s Integrated Cargo Carrier section is shown in the Spaceport’s S5 payload preparation facility.

Europe’s next Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) is being readied for pre-launch checkout at the Spaceport in preparation for its liftoff on an upcoming Ariane 5 mission.

This Automated Transfer Vehicle, which is named after German astronomer and mathematician Johannes Kepler, will be the second such large spacecraft orbited by Arianespace for servicing of the International Space Station – following the Jules Verne ATV launched by an Ariane 5 in March 2008.

The ATV is designed to deliver food, air and water for the International Space Station’s crew, along with experiment equipment and spare parts, as well as other hardware. It also is used to raise the station’s orbit when necessary, and removes waste when undocked from the facility at the completion of its mission.

As the most sophisticated spacecraft ever built in Europe, the ATV will become the largest vehicle supplying the International Space Station once America’s Space Shuttle fleet is retired.

The ATV is composed of two major spacecraft elements: the Integrated Cargo Carrier and Service Module.  When assembled, the resupply vessel is more than 10 meters tall.

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