Thales Alenia Space announced that it has completed integration of the fourth ICC (Integrated Cargo Carrier), the service module for the ATV (Automated Transfer Vehicle), on behalf of the European Space Agency (ESA). The fourth ATV, named after world-renowned scientist Albert Einstein, was shipped last December 28 from Thales Alenia Space’s integration center in Turin, Italy, to the program prime contractor Astrium in Bremen, Germany.
Like the first ATV, Jules Verne, launched in 2008, the Johannes Kepler ATV2, launched in February 2011, and the Edoardo Amaldi ATV3, set for launch in early 2012, the Albert Einstein ATV4 will now undergo a series of tests. It will then be shipped to the Guiana Space Center in French Guiana, for a launch to the International Space Station slated for early 2013.
The unmanned ATV, , will automatically dock with the Space Station to transfer experimental equipment, spare parts, food, air and water for the crew. In addition to the three tons of cargo carried by the pressurized ICC module, it will also carry two tons eight hundred kilos of propellants to reboost the International Space Station into its nominal orbit, plus 860 kg of propellant to be transferred to the ISS, up to 300 kg of water, and over 100 kg of gases. The ATV cargo transfer operations will be carried out by the ISS crew and monitored using tools also developed by Thales Alenia Space.
“Thales Alenia Space, and especially the Turin plant, are very proud of our work for the ATV, within the scope of our overall effort to increase ISS operational efficiency,” said Luigi Maria Quaglino, Senior Vice President, Space. "With the Space Station’s service life now extended until 2020, requiring additional automated transfer modules, Thales Alenia Space will be building nine Pressurized Cargo Modules (PCM) for the Cygnus resupply vessels produced in the United States. And we are already working on ATV5.”
The fourth ICC module built by Thales Alenia Space for the ATV comprises a pressurized cylinder 4.6 meters in diameter and 4 meters long, including the ISS docking system at the front, and a non-pressurized area 0.7 meters long including the refueling system and the water and oxygen supply tanks.
The sensors, antenna and parts of the attitude control thrusters for navigation and the ISS docking phase are integrated in the ICC module, along with all electronic control equipment for the docking phase. This equipment is adapted from components used on Russia’s Progress and Soyuz launch vehicles, and was supplied by RSC-Energia.
Source: Thales Group (Paris: HO.PA)
Date: Jan 25, 2012