ATV Albert Einstein is fuelled at Europe's Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana. Automated Transfer Vehicles (ATVs) carry two types of propellant to the International Space Station. Aside from its own propellants, the space ferry brings propellants for the Russian Station thrusters. They are loaded in four phases – and each component is highly toxic. All non-essential personnel are cleared from the room and operators wear sealed ‘scape suits’ at all times during fuelling.
ATVs are multi-purpose unmanned ferries delivered to orbit by Europe’s Ariane 5 launcher. Each spacecraft can deliver up to 7 tonnes of cargo to the International Space Station, including supplies and equipment, water, air, nitrogen, oxygen and fuel.