The Next ATV for launch by Arianespace lands in French Guiana

Europe’s fourth Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) entrusted to Arianespace for launch on its Ariane 5 workhorse has arrived at the Spaceport in French Guiana, beginning a campaign leading to this large spacecraft’s liftoff next year on an International Space Station resupply mission.

The ATV, named after Albert Einstein, arrived aboard a sea-going vessel that docked at Pariacabo Port near the city of Kourou today.  The protective shipping containers with major spacecraft components were then unloaded and transferred a short distance by road to the Spaceport – where the ATV will be assembled, tested and integrated with its Ariane 5 for launch in spring 2013.

ATVs serve a vital resupply role for the International Space Station, with a typical mission bringing water, fuel, food and scientific equipment to the crewed orbital facility.  The ATV also is used in regularly re-boosting the space station to its operational orbit of approximately 400 km., as well as for carrying out maneuvers to avoid collisions with space debris.

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Arianespace orbited the first ATV in March 2008, followed by launches of the two other spacecraft in February 2011 and March 2012.

Source: Arianespace
Date: Sep 20, 2012