Headlines > News > The Automated Transfer Vehicle enters its checkout phase at Europe’s Spaceport

The Automated Transfer Vehicle enters its checkout phase at Europe’s Spaceport

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Mon Aug 6, 2007 5:13 pm
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(Arianespace) – A very special payload is now undergoing initial processing at the Spaceport as Europe’s Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) begins its checkout process in preparation for an Ariane 5 launch to the International Space Station.

The ATV “Jules Verne” was delivered this week to French Guiana, and is scheduled for an early 2008 Arianespace mission aboard an Ariane 5 ES launcher. Development of the ATV was performed under European Space Agency management, and the industrial team is led by EADS Astrium.

As one of the largest unmanned spacecraft ever built, the ATV is composed of two major spacecraft elements: the Integrated Cargo Carrier and Propulsion Module. Both elements are now in the S5C high-bay area of the Spaceport’s S5 payload preparation facility, and are being linked to the electrical and system test benches that will be used during the ATV’s multi-month preparation phase.

The following photos show the Integrated Cargo Carrier and Propulsion Module as they emerged from their shipping containers and were readied for checkout.:

http://www.arianespace.com/site/images/atv_data_sml.jpgThis drawing illustrates the ATV in its flight configuration. When assembled, the ATV will be 10.3 meters tall, with a liftoff mass of 19,400 kg. – the heaviest payload ever orbited by Ariane 5. The four large solar panels evident in this drawing will be folded for launch, enabling the ATV to be integrated under Ariane 5’s large payload fairing.

The ATV’s Propulsion Module emerges from the shipping container that provided protection during its sea voyage from Rotterdam harbor. ATV components were transported by the MN Toucan, which is one of two roll-on-roll-off ships used by Arianespace to carry Ariane launch vehicles and other spaceflight hardware to French Guiana.

http://www.arianespace.com/site/images/missionup_02aug07_img2_sm.jpgEADS team members take their first close-up look at the Propulsion Module in the S5C high bay. Four main engines and 28 smaller thrusters on the Propulsion Module will enable the ATV to perform multiple functions when mated to the International Space Station, including attitude control, debris avoidance maneuvers and boosting the Station’s orbit to overcome the effects of atmospheric drag.

http://www.arianespace.com/site/images/missionup_02aug07_img3_sm.jpgA wide-angle photo shows the Integrated Cargo Carrier as this ATV component is readied to be removed from its shipping container. The two oblong-shaped grey covers at left and right protect the Russian-supplied fueling systems that will deliver 860 kg. of propellant for the International Space Station’s own Russian-built propulsion unit. Three large ball-shaped tanks (protected by the gray covers) will carry water, while the trio of smaller tanks (wrapped in blue protection) will be filled with breathable air for the International Space Station crews. The center hatch will be used to load the ATV’s cargo.

http://www.arianespace.com/site/images/missionup_02aug07_img4_sm.jpgThe ATV’s Integrated Cargo Carrier is topped off by a Russian-built docking and refueling system (visible on the module’s end, at right). ATV docking will occur at the International Space Station’s Russian service module, and the ATV will remain attached to the manned orbital facility for up to six months. For its maiden flight early next year, the ATV will transport 1,300 kg. of “dry cargo” in the pressurized module, along with some 280 liters of drinkable water and 20 kg. of breathable air.

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