The powerful Ariane 5 takes off from Europe's spaceport in 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 liftoff, 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 can use up to 4 tonnes of propellant to raise the International Space Station's altitude which naturally decreases over time.
After six months ATV, loaded with 6.5 tonnes of waste, separates from the Space Station and burns up during a controlled reentry high over the Pacific.

Last update: 3 June 2013

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