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Third ATV begins its preparations for launch on Ariane 5
by Staff Writers
Kourou, French Guiana (SPX) Sep 01, 2011

ATV Edoardo Amaldi will be the third such resupply spacecraft launched by Arianespace for servicing of the International Space Station.

The preparation campaign for Europe's third Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) has begun in French Guiana as this large cargo resupply spacecraft is readied for a spring 2012 Ariane 5 launch by Arianespace to service the International Space Station.

During activity in the Spaceport's S5 payload preparation facility, the ATV's two main components - its Integrated Cargo Carrier and the Service Module - are undergoing initial checkout, starting a 180-day mission campaign.

Both elements are in the S5 facility's large S5C hall, having been unloaded from the shipping containers that protected them during the multi-week sea voyage from Europe to South America.

S5C is the largest of the S5 building's preparation halls, and has 700 sq. meters of clean room facilities for major payloads such as the ATV. It also includes adjacent dedicated office areas for the technical teams performing payload checkout duties.

The ATV arrived in French Guiana last week aboard the MN Toucan - one of two roll-on/roll-off seagoing vessels used by Arianespace to transport launch vehicle components from Europe to South America, and which also are made available for exceptional loads such as the ATV.

Named after Italian cosmic ray physicist Edoardo Amaldi, this latest ATV will carry about two metric tons of dry cargo, 285 kg. of water and more than three tons of propellants, based on current planning.

ATV Edoardo Amaldi will be the third such resupply spacecraft launched by Arianespace for servicing of the International Space Station. The first was ATV Jules Verne, orbited in March 2008, followed by ATV Johannes Kepler this past February.

Managed by the European Space Agency, the ATV program is part of Europe's contribution to the International Space Station's creation and operation. EADS Astrium is the ATV's prime contractor, leading a European industry team.

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