The 48 m3 pressurised module of the largest, most complex automated spacecraft ever developed in Europe has been inspected and closed, fulfilling the most stringent rules of human spaceflight.
Three days later, the two halves of the 20-tonne Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) – the avionics/propulsion module and the pressurised cargo carrier – were mated ready for its launch, scheduled for February 2008, to re-supply the International Space Station (ISS).“In order to eliminate any risk of disease or contamination for the astronauts on board the ISS, we have disinfected all the surfaces inside the pressurised module with pure hydrogen peroxide. Even if it is launched unmanned, ‘Jules Verne’ respects all the human spacecraft safety requirements. This also applies to the 7 tonnes of cargo carried into orbit”, said Patrice Amadieu, ESA’s ATV Deputy Project Manager.
As the year 2008 approaches, Jules Verne ATV will be transferred to the filling area in the restricted propellant zone of building S5-B. In the first days of February, the cargo vessel will be transferred to a different site for integration atop a special Ariane 5 launcher. The launch and maiden voyage to the International Space Station is scheduled on the first Ariane 5 flight of the new year in February 2008.
Markus Bauer | EurekAlert!
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