Feeds

20-tonne space truck heads for ISS

Successful launch of the heavyweight Johannes Kepler

Intelligent flash storage arrays

The European Space Agency's second Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) yesterday blasted off en route to the International Space Station.

The Johannes Kepler rose heavenwards atop an Ariane 5 rocket from the Kourou spaceport in French Guiana at 21:50 GMT. The launch had previously been knocked back a day due to a minor technical glitch.

On the pad, ATV-2 weighed in at 20.06 tonnes, "the heaviest payload ever launched by Europe". It's carrying "4,534kg of propellant for International Space Station reboost and attitude control", "1,600kg of dry cargo, 850kg of propellant for Russia’s Zvezda module and 100kg of oxygen".

If all goes according to plan, it will dock "directly and autonomously" with the ISS's Zvezda module on Thursday, 24 February.

Artist's impression of the ATV creeping up on the ISS. Pic: ESA - D. Ducros

The Johannes Kepler is the first operational ATV, following the 2008 qualification flight of the Jules Verne. The next will be the Edoardo Amaldi (ATV-3), due for launch in around a year, followed by ATVs 4 and 5, slated to head into the heavens by 2014.

Once it's done its bit at the ISS, including using its own thrusters to "raise the Station’s orbit periodically in order to compensate for the natural decay caused by atmospheric drag", the Johannes Kepler will be filled with waste and redundant hardware and directed towards a final re-entry burn-up over the Pacific. ®

Bootnote

The delayed launch of the Johannes Kepler may impact on the planned 24 February lift-off of Discovery on its STS-133 mission to the ISS. NASA managers will decide tomorrow if it will have to be rescheduled.

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

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
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
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
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.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
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?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.