Feeds

ESA's space truck heads for ISS

Automated Transfer Vehicle is go

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

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. ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
SpaceX prototype rocket EXPLODES over Texas. 'Tricky' biz, says Elon Musk
No injuries or near injuries. Flight stayed in designated area
Cutting cancer rates: Data, models and a happy ending?
How surgery might be making cancer prognoses worse
Boffins ID freakish spine-smothered prehistoric critter: The CLAW gave it away
Bizarre-looking creature actually related to velvet worms
CRR-CRRRK, beep, beep: Mars space truck backs out of slippery sand trap
Curiosity finds new drilling target after course correction
Brit balloon bod Bodnar overflies North Pole
B-64 amateur ultralight payload approaching second circumnavigation
Galileo, Galileo! Galileo, Galileo! Galileo fit to go. Magnifico
I'm just a poor boy, nobody loves me. But at least I can find my way with ESA GPS by 2017
Astronomers scramble for obs on new comet
Amateur gets fifth confirmed discovery
Boffins build CYBORG-MOTHRA but not for evil: For search & rescue
This tiny bio-bot will chew through your clothes then save your life
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?