Feeds

ESA's space truck heads for ISS

Automated Transfer Vehicle is go

Intelligent flash storage arrays

The European Space Agency's "Jules Verne" Automated Transfer Vehicle yesterday hitched a lift on a specially-adapted Ariane 5ES rocket from the Guiana Space Centre en route to "re-supply and re-boost" the International Space Station (ISS).

Liftoff of the Ariane 5 ES-ATV launcher. Pic: ESA/CNES/ARIANESPACE - Activité Photo Optique Video CSGThe lift was, at almost 20-tonnes, twice the payload previously carried aloft by an Ariane 5, and went without a hitch at 01:03 local (05:03 CET, 04:03 GMT) from the Guiana Space Centre in Kourou, French Guiana (see pic).

According to the European Space Agency (ESA), the "unusual launch trajectory" necessitated the deployment of "two new telemetry tracking stations, one on a ship in the Atlantic Ocean and one on the Azores Islands". After an initial eight minute burn over the Atlantic, the Ariane coasted for 45 minutes before a second "circularisation burn" above Australia. The Jules Verne ATV separated at 02:09 local (06:09 CET, 05:09 GMT).

The space truck is now under the control of the ATV Control Centre in Toulouse, France, which will guide it towards the ISS for a first "docking slot" scheduled for 3 April.

The Jules Verne is described as the "largest and most sophisticated spacecraft ever developed in Europe, combining the functions of an autonomous free-flying platform, a manoeuvrable space vehicle and a space station module".

ESA explains: "About 10 metres high with a diameter of 4.5 metres, it weighed 19,357kg at launch. It incorporates a 45m3 pressurised module, derived from the Columbus pressure shell, and a Russian-built docking system, similar to those used on Soyuz manned ferries and on the Progress re-supply ship."

For its first mission, the Jules Verne is carrying 4.6 tonnes of useful payload to the ISS, including "1,150kg of dry cargo, 856kg of propellant for the Russian Zvezda module, 270kg of drinking water and 21kg of oxygen".

Space Shuttle Endeavour, meanwhile, is scheduled to lift off tomorrow at 02:28 EDT (06:28 GMT) from Kennedy Space Centre. Mission STS-123 (summary here [pdf]), will deliver the first section of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency's Kibo lab and the Canadian Space Agency's "Dextre" two-armed robotic system to the ISS. ®

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
SECRET U.S. 'SPACE WARPLANE' set to return from SPY MISSION
Robot minishuttle X-37B returns after almost 2 years in orbit
No sail: NASA spikes Sunjammer
'Solar sail' demonstrator project binned
LOHAN crash lands on CNN
Overflies Die Welt en route to lively US news vid
You can crunch it all you like, but the answer is NOT always in the data
Hear that, 'data journalists'? Our analytics prof holds forth
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
Carry On Cosmonaut: Willful Child is a poor taste Star Trek parody
Cringeworthy, crude and crass jokes abound in Steven Erikson’s sci-fi debut
Origins of SEXUAL INTERCOURSE fished out of SCOTTISH LAKE
Fossil find proves it first happened 385 million years ago
America's super-secret X-37B plane returns to Earth after nearly TWO YEARS aloft
674 days in space for US Air Force's mystery orbital vehicle
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.