The powerful Ariane-5 takes off from French Guiana.
ATV mission scenario - picture report
ATV, weighing more than 20 tonnes, is well protected at the top of Ariane 5 during the three minutes of high pressure aerodynamic ascent.
100 minutes after lift-off, ATV becomes a fully automatic spaceship navigating towards the International Space Station
Three days after launch, ATV uses its eye-like rendezvous sensors to dock precisely and safely with the Space Station..
ATV becomes an extension of the station. The 45 m³ pressurised module delivers up to 6.6 tonnes of equipment, fuel, food, water and air for the crew.
ATV may use up to 4 tonnes of propellant to raise Station altitude which naturally decreases over time..
After 6 months ATV, loaded with 6.5 tonnes of waste, separates from the Space Station and burns up during a controlled re-entry high over the Pacific.
Last update: 19 October 2012