April 3, 2008 Vol 1, Issue 3
The European Space Agency (ESA) successfully launched Jules Verne, the first of its new line of cargo-hauling Automotive Transfer Vehicles (ATV), into low earth orbit from the Guiana Space Center in Korou, French Guiana, on March 9, 2008.
Following a series of altitude boosts and safety maneuver tests, Jules Verne is expected to deliver 4.6 tons of supplies to the International Space Station on Following a series of altitude boosts and safety maneuver tests, Jules Verne is expected to deliver 4.6 tons of supplies to the International Space Station on April 3, 2008. During its four-month stay at the ISS, Jules Verne is scheduled to help boost the orbit of the ISS and ferry away space station refuse.
Developed by Astrium Space Transportation, Jules Verne consists of a free-flying platform, a space station module, and a maneuverable space vehicle. Approximately three times larger than Progress, Russia’s re-supply ship, Jules Verne clocks in at 19,360 kilograms, and stands 10 meters high and 4.5 meters in diameter. Its payload includes 270 kilograms of oxygen, 270 kilograms of water, 856 kg of propellant for the Russian Zvezda module and 1,150 kilograms of cargo, including re-boost propellant for the ISS.
In order to handle the liftoff of the ATV’s large payload, ESA created the new Ariane 5ES (Evolution Storable) upper stage Automated Transfer Vehicle (A5 ES-ATV), a new version of the Ariane launcher, which also features updated navigation systems and flight software. Launched to the same orbital plane as the ISS, but at a lower altitude (260 km vs. 345 km for the ISS), the Jules Verne’s automatic ISS rendezvous and docking maneuvers will be monitored from the ATV Control Center sited within the offices of the French Space Agency CNES in Toulouse, France.
In August, Jules Verne will be de-orbited and led into a controlled burn over the southern Pacific Ocean.