Jules Verne ATV declared ready for launch
The successful Launch Readiness Review (LRR) for the inaugural launch of the Jules Verne Automated Transfer Vehicle-V162 was today held at Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana.
In the presence of John Ellwood, ESA’s Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) Project Manager, with the participation of around 60 people from ESA, Arianespace, CNES, Astrium, RSC-Energia and NASA, the European space supply vessel for the International Space Station, was declared ready for launch on 9 March at 05:03 CET (04:03 UTC).
“We are very pleased to smoothly pass this milestone four days before launch as scheduled, now we really feel to be ready, and our Russian and NASA partners have expressed the same confidence,” said Ellwood.
The ATV is considered the most sophisticated spacecraft developed in Europe and represents 11 years of development.
The Launch Readiness Review is organised by ESA to provide a final pre-launch assessment of the readiness status of the spacecraft and the ATV Control Centre (ATV-CC) in Toulouse. The review certifies that the spacecraft, integrated to the launcher, is ready to proceed into final countdown.
From NASA’s Johnson Space Centre in Houston, Mike Suffredini, NASA International Space Station Programme Manager and seven of his staff, participated in the 3-hour meeting in Kourou by teleconference, as did a five-strong ATV-CC management team, from Toulouse.
The Russian ISS partners were represented by Nicolai Zelenschikov, First Vice President of RSC-Energia, who is in Kourou specially for the Jules Verne ATV launch. Rendezvous and docking of ATV with the ISS is scheduled for 3 April.
On the launcher side, the Ariane 5 Launch Readiness Review (or RAL, Revue d’Aptitude au Lancement) is scheduled for tomorrow, 6 March. This review certifies that the launcher meets all the Ariane 5 technical requirements and is ready for flight.
Roll-out of the 760-tonne launcher and Jules Verne ATV from the Final Assembly Building at Europe’s Spaceport to the launch pad is scheduled for Friday 7 March.