Follow the launch of ATV 'Jules Verne' live from ESA sites across Europe

Jules Verne is the maiden voyage of ESA's Automated Transfer Vehicle
29 February 2008

ESA PR 13-2008. With ESA’s Columbus laboratory successfully attached and operating on the International Space Station, the time has now come for another European milestone mission to leave for the ISS - that of the first Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV), named 'Jules Verne'.

Europe’s massive 19 357 kg supply spacecraft will be carried into orbit by a special version of the Ariane 5 launcher. This Ariane is now scheduled to lift off from Europe’s spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, on 8 March at 01:28 local time, 05:28 CET. Media are invited to space centres across Europe to follow this historic launch live (see details below).

Fairing lowered over Jules Verne ATV
The launcher fairing is lowered over Jules Verne ATV

From 2008 onward, ESA’s Automated Transfer Vehicle will be one of the space station’s supply spacecraft, delivering experiments, equipment and spare parts, as well as food, air and water for its permanent crew.

Constructed by EADS-Astrium, the ATV, which is the most powerful automatic spaceship ever built, will carry up to 9 tonnes of cargo to the station as it orbits 400 km above the Earth.

Equipped with its own propulsion and navigation systems, the ATV is a multi-functional spacecraft, combining the fully automatic capabilities of an unmanned vehicle with the safety requirements of a crewed vehicle. Its mission in space will resemble that, on the ground, of a truck (the ATV) delivering goods and services to a research establishment (the space station).

Team in front of Jules Verne
Members of the Jules Verne launch integration team in front of the spacecraft at Europe's Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana

A new-generation high-precision navigation system will guide the ATV on a rendezvous trajectory towards the station. In early April, Jules Verne will automatically dock with the station’s Russian Service Module, following a number of specific operations and manoeuvres (on 'Demonstration Days') to show that the vehicle is performing as planned in nominal and contingency situations.

It will remain there as a pressurised and integral part of the station for up to six months until a controlled re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere takes place, during which it will burn up and, in the process, dispose of 6.3 tonnes of waste material no longer needed on the station.

For the launch of this milestone mission, ESA, CNES, DLR and industry partners are organising coverage of the launch at various centres. ESA experts as well as industry representatives will be on hand for interviews.

The mission can also be followed on the web at: www.esa.int/atv. Media representatives wishing to follow the event at one of the locations listed below are requested to fill in the attached registration form and fax it back to the place of their choice. The event will be followed live at the following locations:

France
CNES / ESA transmission at Toulouse
Address: Cité de l’Espace, bât. Astralia, Toulouse
Opening hours: 04:30 - 08:00

France
Location: ESA HQ
Address: 8/10, rue Mario-Nikis, Paris 15
Opening hours: 04:30 - 08:00

Germany
EADS-Astrium / ESA / DLR Event
Address: Astrium GmbH, Airbus-Str.1, Bremen
Opening hours: 04:30 - 08:00

Germany
Location: ESA/ESOC
Address: Robert-Bosch Strasse 5, 64289 Darmstadt
Opening hours: 04:45 - 08:00

The Netherlands
Location: ESA/ESTEC, Erasmus Centre
Address: Keplerlaan 1, Noordwijk
Opening hours: 05:00 – 07:00

Italy
Location: ESA/ESRIN
Address: Via Galileo Galilei, Frascati (Rome)
Opening hours: 04:30 - 08:00

Spain
EVENT CANCELLED
Location: ESA/ESAC
Address: Camino bajo del Castillo, s/n Urbanización Villafranca del Castillo
Villanueva de la Cañada, Madrid

For further information, please contact:

ESA Media Relations Office
Communication Department
Tel: +33(0)1 53 69 7158
Fax: +33(0)1.53.69.7690

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