ATV starts journey to Kourou - story in pictures
With around 400 tonnes of spacecraft and equipment for the Automated Transfer Vehicle on board, MN Toucan set sail for Kourou from Rotterdam harbour yesterday afternoon at around 15:30 CEST. The vessel is expected to arrive at Europe's Spaceport, in Kourou, French Guiana, in eleven days time.
The first Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV), named Jules Verne, left ESA's research and technology centre, ESTEC, in Noordwijk, the Netherlands, late last Friday. The ISS re-supply cargo spacecraft was split into three sections ahead of transportation.
Loaded on trucks, the spacecraft sections were transported by road to a nearby harbour. From there, the large white transportation containers were carried by canal barge to Rotterdam harbour.
Once in Rotterdam, the three containers were loaded onboard MN Toucan, a French cargo ship which is normally used by Arianespace to transport Ariane rocket components on the same route across the Atlantic Ocean.