ESA’s Automated Transfer Vehicles (ATVs) were the largest spacecraft ever built in Europe and supplied the International Space Station with cargo, fuel and air and could move the whole Station to higher orbits when needed.
But how do you fuel an ATV so it can move on its own once in space? The answer is very carefully as ESA’s ATV blog editor Julien Harrod finds out in this short video.
The knowledge gained by ESA and European industry from designing, building and operating the complex ATV missions is now being applied to NASA’s Orion spacecraft that will fly astronauts to the Moon and beyond. ESA’s industrial partners are building the European Service Module, ATV’s technical successor for Orion to supply power, air and propulsion during its test flight in 2017.