Astrium Ships ISS Resupply Vehicle to French Guiana
[Satellite TODAY 05-12-10] Astrium has shipped the Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) of the Johannes Kepler, the second European spacecraft for the International Space Station (ISS), to Arianespace’s spaceport in French Guiana for its scheduled launch at the end of 2010, Astrium announced May 11.
Astrium built and developed the ATV for the European Space Agency (ESA) and is responsible for mission preparation and operations support. The ATV now enters its final testing and integration phase. ESA has invested 21 million euros in the Johannes Kepler preliminary program.
"When the U.S. space shuttle will be retired at the end of the year, ATV will be the largest vehicle supplying the ISS. … The technology and experience gained with the development of the ATV represents an asset for Europe and its industrial competitiveness. It also provides a solid basis to further develop Europe’s position among the leaders in the exploitation and exploration of space, in LEO and beyond," said Simonetta di Pippo, ESA Director for Human Space Flight.