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Ariane 5 ES Sends the ATV on its Way to the ISS: the First Success of a Double Astrium Event

Ariane 5 ES Sends the ATV on its Way to the ISS: the First Success of a Double Astrium Event

L'ATV s'arrimant à l'ISS. Photo © EADS Astrium./ Image Silicon World.

Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) approaching the ISS

Kourou, French Guyana -- (Astrium) Sunday, March 9, 2008 -- At 5.03 a.m. CET, an Ariane 5 ES placed the 19.4 tonnes of the ATV Jules Verne into orbit at the very first attempt.

François Auque, CEO of Astrium. EADS Astrium © Photo.

François Auque, CEO of Astrium

François Auque, CEO of Astrium said: “Following Columbus, this is a new major event that we are now experiencing with lift off of the ATV. This successful Ariane launch represents the first part of a double event, Astrium being also single prime contractor for Ariane 5. This adaptation mission of Ariane 5 has been by far the most complex ever set up, involving four years of intensive work!”

ATV - Automated Transfer Vehicle on an Ariane 5 launcher two days before launch. © ESA-CNES-ARIANESPACE / Photo Activité Optique Vidéo.

ATV - Automated Transfer Vehicle on an Ariane 5 launcher two days before launch

Orbit injection of the ATV called for a specially adapted version of the Ariane 5 launcher developed and produced by Astrium. This Ariane 5 ES has a reignitable EPS upper stage, a strengthened VEB, and a specifically redeveloped flight programme. This re-ignition capability, required to inject the ATV into an orbit from which it can reach the ISS, was first demonstrated in flight in October 2007. The re-ignitable upper stage functioned flawlessly, and positioned the ATV on the target flight path.

For the first two missions, the ATV will be launched by Ariane 5, featuring storable propellant upper stage (EPS). © EADS SPACE Transportation / Image Silicon worlds.

ATV launched by Ariane 5. The ATV will be injected into the ISS’s orbit, inclined 51.6 degrees to the Equator

This successful lift-off is only the beginning of the ATV mission. As Nicolas Chamussy, Director of the Programme, reminded us: “We have just begun the first of the five major phases of the mission. After the initial operations in orbit, the ATV will start the orbital flight phase which will take it to the ISS. This will be followed by the extremely delicate rendezvous and docking phases, and then a period during which the securely docked ATV will be a fully-fledged module of the ISS. The Jules Verne mission will end with de-docking, de-orbiting and finally destruction of the vehicle in the dense layers of the atmosphere.” The various control centers, including the dedicated ATV control centre in Toulouse, are now fully operational for monitoring the mission. They are supported by Astrium Space Transportation as conception master and engineering support.

Astrium, a wholly owned subsidiary of EADS, is dedicated to providing civil and defence space systems and services. In 2006, Astrium had a turnover of €3.2 billion and 12,000 employees in France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Spain and the Netherlands. Its three main areas of activity are Astrium Space Transportation for launchers and orbital infrastructure, and Astrium Satellites for spacecraft and ground segment, and its wholly owned subsidiary Astrium Services for the development and delivery of satellite services.

EADS is a global leader in aerospace, defence and related services. In 2006, EADS generated revenues of €39.4 billion and employed a workforce of more than 116, 000.

Media Contacts :

  • Rémi Roland (Astrium FR) Phone: +33 (0) 1 77 75 80 37

  • Jeremy Close (Astrium UK) Phone: +44 (0)1 438 77 3872

  • Mathias Pikelj (Astrium GER) Phone: +49 (0) 7545 8 91 23

  • Francisco Lechon (Astrium ESP) Phone: +34 (0) 91 586 37 41

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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).