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Arianespace Launches Jules Verne ATV to the International Space Station - Mission Accomplished !

Arianespace Launches Jules Verne ATV to the International Space Station - Mission Accomplished !

On Sunday, March 9, in its first mission of the year, Arianespace successfully launched the European Space Agency's first ATV (Automated Transfer Vehicle), dubbed Jules Verne, towards its rendezvous with the International Space Station. Source : Arianespace Press Release, Kourou, March 9, 2008.

  • 37th Ariane 5 launch and 23rd successful launch in a row.

The latest successful launch of an Ariane 5 confirms that Arianespace's launch Service & Solutions continue to set the standard and guarantee access to space for all stakeholders, whether national or international space agencies, private or government operators.

With 23 successful launches in a row, Ariane 5 continues to prove its reliability and availability. It also set a new payload record, boosting nearly 20 metric tons into low Earth orbit on this mission.

  •  Ariane 5 ES flight qualified

The new Ariane 5 ES version was used for the Jules Verne ATV mission. Its lower composite, including the cryogenic main stage and solid boosters, is identical to that on the Ariane 5 ECA launcher, while the upper composite features a storable-propellant upper stage that can be re-ignited in flight. Arianespace will use this version of the launcher for subsequent ATV missions and, if applicable, satellites in the Galileo constellation.

  • A new mission for the Guiana Space Center

This launch marks Arianespace's first mission to the International Space Station (ISS). The Guiana Space Center thus joins the very select club of launch sites serving the ISS, along with Baikonur and the Kennedy Space Center (Cape Canaveral).

Coming just a few weeks after the docking of the Columbus space laboratory to the Space Station, the successful launch of the Jules Verne ATV shows once again that Europe plays a major role in manned space missions.

  •  Jules Verne ATV mission at a glance

The mission was carried out by an Ariane 5 ES launcher from Europe's Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana. Liftoff was on Sunday, March 9, at 1:03 am local time in Kourou (04:03 UT, 5:03 am in Paris and 7:03 am in Moscow).

Provisional parameters at injection of the storable-propellant upper stage (EPS) were:

Perigee: 259.2 km for a target of 259.5 km (±10)
Apogee: 263.6 km for a target of 264.3 km (±15)
Inclination: 51.61 degrees for a target of 51.63 degrees (±0.09°)

  • ATV, the space freighter

The ATV is designed to bring supplies to the ISS (water, air, food, propellants for the Russian section, spare parts, experimental hardware, etc.), and to reboost the ISS into its nominal orbit. The ISS now weighs more than 240 metric tons, including the recently attached European laboratory, Columbus. After being docked to the ISS for up to six months, the ATV will be loaded with waste by the astronauts and deorbited.

After separating from the launch vehicle, the ATV will be autonomous, using its own systems for energy (batteries and four large solar panels) and guidance (GPS, star tracker), in liaison with the control center in Toulouse. During final approach, an optical system will guide the ATV to its rendezvous with the Space Station, where it will automatically dock several days after launch. The ATV will remain docked to the ISS for nearly six months, before separating and making a guided reentry and disintegrating in the atmosphere.

The ATV was built by EADS Astrium at the head of a consortium of European manufacturers. A large cylinder measuring about 10 meters long by 4.5 meters in diameter, the ATV comprises two main parts: a service module with the avionics and propulsion systems, and a pressurized cargo carrier.

Arianespace was founded in 1980 as the world’s first launch services and solutions company.

  • Company profile

Arianespace was founded in 1980 as the world's first launch Service & Solutions company. Arianespace now has 23 shareholders from 10 European countries (including the French space agency CNES with 34%, EADS with 30%, and European companies participating in the production of Ariane launchers).

Since its creation, Arianespace has launched 250 satellites, with more than two-thirds of the commercial satellites now in service being launched by Arianespace.

The company generated sales of 983 million euros in 2006 in its fourth successive profitable year. On October 1st, 2007, Arianespace had 289 employees based at the company's headquarters in Evry (near Paris), the Guiana Space Center in French Guiana, where the Ariane 5, Soyuz and Vega launch pads are located, and offices in Washington D.C., Tokyo and Singapore.

  • Operations

Arianespace offers launch Service & Solutions to satellite operators (including private companies and government agencies) from around the world,. These services and solutions are based upon:

The Ariane 5 heavy lift vehicle, operated from the Guiana Space Center in French Guiana.
The Soyuz medium launcher. Currently in operation at Baikonur in Kazakhstan, it will be launched from the Guiana Space Center starting in 2009.
The Vega light launcher, to be launched from the Guiana Space Center starting in 2009.
Arianespace was also the driving force behind a mutual backup agreement with other companies in the industry, creating an entity called the Launch Services Alliance. This arrangement guarantees that customers' payloads will be launched reliably and on schedule, providing an additional factor in winning new launch contracts.

With its family of launchers and this backup agreement, Arianespace has won nearly half of the world's commercial launch service contracts open to competitive bidding in the last two years. Arianespace now has a very impressive order-book:

27 satellites to be launched into geostationary transfer orbit, using Ariane 5 and possibly Soyuz for the smaller spacecraft.
11 government launches by Ariane 5, including nine for the ATV cargo vessel that will bring supplies to the International Space Station.
10 Soyuz launches (four from Baikonur, six from the Guiana Space Center).
Management team

The company's shareholders are represented by Jean-Yves Le Gall, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer. Françoise Bouzitat is Senior Vice-President, Finance, Philippe Berterottiere is Senior Vice-President, Sales, Marketing and Customer Programs, and Patrick Bonguet is Senior Vice-President, Programs.

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Directeur de la publication : Joël-François Dumont
Comité de rédaction : Jacques de Lestapis, Hugues Dumont, François de Vries (Bruxelles), Hans-Ulrich Helfer (Suisse), Michael Hellerforth (Allemagne).
Comité militaire : VAE Guy Labouérie (†), GAA François Mermet (2S), CF Patrice Théry (Asie).