Assessment of ESA’s ATV mission readiness results in a new launch window

ATV approaching Space Station
ATV approaching Space Station
14 June 2007

Europe’s first Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) is ready for launch and will be shipped to Europe's Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, in mid-July for a launch campaign that will last several months.

The on-going qualification review, launcher availability (a specially built Ariane 5 version) and 'heavy traffic' at the International Space Station towards the end of the year, lead to a revised launch window that sees now a possibility for the Jules Verne ATV to lift-off not earlier than mid-January 2008.

Once in Kourou, the ATV will have to undergo integration and further tests – as is customary for all spacecraft before launch. Only upon completion of such tests and taking into account the schedule of the Ariane launches will it be possible to set a precise launch date.

Jules Verne is the first of a series of ATVs which will bring supplies including food, water, and fuel as well as experiment equipment to the crew on board the International Space Station. A crucial element of the ISS programme, the ATV will also re-boost the Station’s orbit to overcome the effects of residual atmospheric drag.

After six months the ATV will undock and be used to dispose of Station waste during a guided and controlled destructive re-entry into the atmosphere high over the Pacific Ocean.

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