Next Ariane V / ATV Mission Prepares for Final Assembly

Ariane V Sans ATVCredit :  Arianespace

Ariane V Sans ATV
Credit : Arianespace

Source: Arianespace

The Ariane V booster for the next ATV headed for the International Space Station was moved from the Launcher Integration Building to the Final Assembly building yesterday at the equatorial launch site in Kourou, French Guiana. The launch of the ES version of the world’s undisputed heavy lift champion is currently scheduled for sometime in June or July. It will boost the Albert Einstein, the fourth ATV to resupply the station.

An additional note:

One more ATV, named the Georges Lemaitre is scheduled to visit the station with a flight planned for 2014, after which the European Space Agency will instead concentrate on adapting some of its systems to providing a service module for the Orion Spacecraft for the first flight of the Space Launch System.

Though presented as yet another example of the benefits of international cooperation, it should not be overlooked that despite a development contract valued at $6.2 billion, NASA and prime contractor Lockheed Martin were unable to find the funds to produce a service module as originally planed. And much like the rest of the SLS architecture, the initial service module is temporary only, with the current agreement covering only the first, unmanned flight of SLS and Orion scheduled for late 2017.

Interestingly. JAXA, the Japanese Space Agency,  is showcasing its own H-II Transfer Vehicle at a symposium this weekend. The event,  which will include an internet broadcast,  will highlight the capabilities of automated craft which also supplies ISS, and might be a prelude to  a wider marketing effort for the ship and its related technologies.

Posted in: NASA, SLS / Orion

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