The third European Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) for open by Arianespace was installing atop its Ariane 5 at the Spaceport, mark one of the final steps in arrangements for a March 9 liftoff on a service mission to the International Space Station.
Named after Italian physicist Edoardo Amaldi, the ATV will take dry cargo (including food, clothing, experiments and spare parts), along with water, gas and propellant for delivery to the crewed orbital ability.
This latest ATV flight in support of International Space Station operations will utilize an Ariane 5 ES version of Arianespace's heavy-lift workhorse, underscoring the launcher's suppleness in meeting a full range of mission requirements. The launch of ATV Edoardo Amaldi follows Arianespace missions with Europe's first two Automated Transfer Vehicles, perform in February 2011 and March 2008 from the Spaceport in French Guiana.
An industry consortium led by Astrium produces the ATVs in a program manage by the European Space Agency.