Ariane Flight VA219
Europe’s fifth, and final, Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) is now integrated with its Ariane 5 launcher, enabling final cargo loading in preparation for Arianespace’s July 24 mission from French Guiana.
The Automated Transfer Vehicle is named after Belgian physicist and father of the Big Bang theory, Georges Lemaître, and it will deliver fuel, air and more than 2,600 kg. of dry cargo to the International Space Station. In addition, this ATV resupply spacecraft will perform maneuvers to maintain the facility’s nominal orbit, as well as test new rendezvous sensors in space.
Using a hoist system set-up in Ariane 5’s Final Assembly Building at the Spaceport, the remaining cargo is being loaded through the ATV’s top hatch, carefully securing these bags supplied by the European, U.S. and Japanese space agencies.
The ATV program – managed by the European Space Agency (ESA) – is part of Europe’s contribution to the International Space Station’s operation. Prime contractor is Airbus Defence and Space, which also is the industrial architect for Ariane 5.
All ATVs have been orbited by Ariane 5 launchers, beginning with “Jules Verne” in March 2008, which was followed by “Johannes Kepler” in February 2011, “Edoardo Amaldi” in March 2012, and last June’s flight with “Albert Einstein.”
Arianespace’s latest ATV mission in support of International Space Station operations is designated Flight VA219 in the company’s numbering system, and will utilize an Ariane 5 ES version of the heavy-lift workhorse.
Date: Jul 4, 2014