Saturday, March 08, 2008

ATV to launch on Sunday

BBC reports: [edited]

Europe is set to launch the biggest, most sophisticated spacecraft in its history. The Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) is an unmanned ship that can carry up to 7.6 tonnes of supplies to the International Space Station (ISS). Its other primary role is to push the orbiting outpost higher into the sky to keep it from falling back to Earth.

The ATV will launch on an Ariane 5 rocket from the Kourou spaceport in French Guiana at 0403 GMT on Sunday. The vehicle has been dubbed 'Jules Verne' and will weigh some 20 tonnes at launch. The Ariane 5 has had to be specially strengthened for the task.

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