Cooperation between Europe and Russia on the integration of the Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) with the International Space Station lasted more than a decade and culminated with a flawless docking of the first European cargo craft to the station’s Zvezda Service Module on 3 April 2008.
All Russian systems aboard the ATV (the Refueling System, Docking System, Equipment Control System, and KURS) demonstrated a stunning level of performance at all respective phases of the mission.
All major joint tasks, such as delivery of dry cargo to the ISS, water transfer, re-pressurization with oxygen, ISS re-boost with ATV thrusters, attitude control, and a debris avoidance manoeuvre, were fulfilled without a hitch.
The giant freighter destroyed itself in a controlled burn-up over the southern Pacific on 29 September 2009.
It is currently planned to launch an ATV every 17 months as part of ESA's ISS membership agreement to haul cargo, propellant, water and oxygen to the space station, and also to provide propulsion capacity at the station.
The ATV is 9.794m long, weighs 19.357 tonnes and has a total cargo capacity of 7.667 tonnes.