March 23 is targeted for Ariane 5’s heavy-lift mission with ATV Edoardo Amaldi
Arianespace’s upcoming Ariane 5 flight for servicing of the International Space Station is now being targeted for a March 23 liftoff after the original timing was delayed to facilitate additional checks on Europe’s third Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV).
The mission was postponed this month after a routine inspection concluded that further measures were necessary to maximize the launch readiness of ATV Edoardo Amaldi – which is named after the noted Italian physicist.
Lifting off from the Spaceport in French Guiana, this ATV will carry dry cargo (including food, clothing, experiments and spare parts), along with water, gas and propellant for delivery to the crewed orbital facility.
Arianespace’s mission – which utilizes an Ariane 5 ES version of the heavy-lift workhorse – follows ATV launches in February 2011 and March 2008. The ATV program is managed by the European Space Agency, with production of the spacecraft performed by an Astrium-led industry consortium.